Padres’ Joe Musgrove has bone spur, bone bruise in right elbow

SAN DIEGO — A recent MRI revealed a bone spur and bone bruise in Joe Musgrove’s right elbow, the San Diego Padres pitcher said Thursday, adding that the new diagnosis explains the inflammation that forced him onto the injured list for the second time this season.

Musgrove received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and cortisone injection in his elbow and hopes to resume throwing in two weeks. Arthroscopic surgery to remove or shave down the spur is “not really in the question right now,” Musgrove said.

“I’ve done enough studying up on them to know that the removal of spurs isn’t necessarily always the best healer,” said Musgrove, who was examined by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache. “That could lead to other issues or (ulnar collateral ligament) issues. So, really doing everything I can to avoid any kind of surgery. But honestly, if I can’t throw with the way I am, I got to try the surgery and see if that clears it up. But that’s quite a ways down the road.”

Yu Darvish, another Padres starter who landed on the IL last week, was shut down in September with a bone spur in his right elbow and opted for rest over arthroscopic surgery. “If you take the bone spur out, the elbow becomes too loose and then there’s a possibility of more stress on the ligament,” Darvish said through interpreter Shingo Horie last summer. Now shelved with a left groin strain, the 37-year-old is aiming to return around the middle of this month.

Musgrove, meanwhile, is expected to remain on the IL at least into July, the latest in a string of extended absences for the veteran right-hander. The former All-Star posted a 3.05 ERA in only 17 big-league starts last season, missing time because of a fractured left big toe and right shoulder capsule inflammation. Musgrove, who has a 5.66 ERA in 10 starts this season, spent 16 days on the IL in May, received a cortisone shot, made two starts and returned to the IL when he experienced a recurrence of inflammation near the back of his elbow. That prompted Musgrove’s first MRI since 2022 and the discovery of a bone spur that had “been in there for well over a year.”

Joe Musgrove went on the injured list last month with elbow inflammation, an injury he attributed to triceps tendonitis. (Denis Poroy / Getty Images)

“I think the doctors just feel like we didn’t give it enough time to rest,” Musgrove, 31, said. “I was feeling pretty good after the (first cortisone) injection, but we only took, like, two or three days off of throwing and I was feeling good, so we got right back to it. It just ultimately didn’t hold up.

“I think in two weeks if they did another MRI, you wouldn’t see much of a change in that short amount of time. So I think it’s more based on symptoms, if I can go out there and throw pain-free, and even if there’s a little bit of discomfort and I can have a clean delivery and feel confident about letting the ball go, we’ll probably start looking at progressing to throwing. But right now, I can’t let the ball go. I don’t trust anything that’s coming out of my hand.”

Between Musgrove, Darvish, second baseman Xander Bogaerts (left shoulder fracture) and third baseman Manny Machado (right hip flexor strain), the Padres opened Thursday’s series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks with more than $800 million in contracts on the sidelines. Machado, who exited a game Wednesday after hurting himself running to first base, is day to day.

“At the moment, we don’t think (an IL stint is) highly likely,” manager Mike Shildt said. “But things could change. The next couple days will tell us.”

Before Musgrove and Darvish returned to the IL last week, president of baseball operations A.J. Preller already was exploring the trade market for pitching reinforcements. The Padres, after being swept by the last-place Los Angeles Angels, are 32-33 but in current possession of the National League’s final wild-card spot. The Athletic reported this week that Preller has shown strong interest in Chicago White Sox left-hander Garrett Crochet. Crochet has undergone elbow and shoulder surgeries and surpassed his professional high for innings in a season; an acquiring team could limit his workload by shifting him to a relief role this summer, and San Diego also needs bullpen help.

The next several weeks should tell the Padres just how much more help they need — and whether they should even be buyers ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.

(Top photo: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

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