Padres left-hander Jose Castillo will miss roughly six weeks after being diagnosed with a teres major strain, manager Jayce Tingler told reporters Thursday (Twitter link via Dennis Lin of The Athletic). The 24-year-old southpaw exited Wednesday’s intrasquad game with what the team initially termed a possible lat injury.
It’ll be the second straight season with a notable injury for Castillo, who was limited to 8 2/3 innings between Triple-A and the Majors last year. He opened the 2019 season on the IL due to a flexor strain and suffered a torn ligament in his hand in his first and only big league appearance last year.
The six-week absence could sideline Castillo for nearly half the truncated 2020 season, and Tingler acknowledged that it might take him out of the 2020 equation entirely. “We’re going to need some breaks for him to return to play this year,” the manager said. “We’re going to stay optimistic.”
Castillo, acquired from the Rays in the three-team blockbuster that sent Wil Myers to San Diego and Trea Turner to D.C., was excellent in his 2018 debut campaign. After pitching to a combined 2.05 ERA in 26 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, he got the call to the big leagues and worked to a 3.29 ERA with a 52-to-12 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 frames for the Padres. Armed with a fastball that averages 95 mph and a slider that has befuddled left- and right-handed hitters alike, Castillo generated a hearty 14 percent swinging-strike rate that season and looked to be on his way to establishing himself as a quality long-term piece in the Friars’ relief corps.
That may still prove to be the case, but it’s hard not to have some degree of concern with the arm injuries that have already begun to pile up for the promising young lefty. Drew Pomeranz, Matt Strahm, Adrian Morejon and likely fifth starter Joey Lucchesi are the only other southpaws on the Padres’ 40-man roster, although the team’s 60-man player pool includes non-roster a trio of lefties: Joey Cantillo, 2018 first-round pick Ryan Weathers and uber-prospect MacKenzie Gore, who could eventually push for a spot in the rotation in 2020.