Padres' Bob Melvin ponders 6-man rotation, Opening Day starter

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Monday, March 13, 2023

The San Diego Padres are flirting with the idea of beginning the season with a six-man pitching rotation.

Settling on an Opening Day starter, though, may not be as easy a decision for manager Bob Melvin.

With Joe Musgrove sidelined by a toe injury and Yu Darvish pitching for Japan in the World Baseball Classic, Melvin is exploring options that could include Blake Snell or Michael Wacha.

Musgrove, who's on the mend after dropping a weight on his left big toe, is set to throw a bullpen session Monday.

And while he has made progress in his recovery since having the nail taken off the toe, there's no guarantee he'll be ready for the March 30 opener against the Colorado Rockies.

If Musgrove doesn't suffer a setback, though, there's a chance he could be inserted at the rear of the proposed six-man rotation the Padres are considering because they are scheduled to begin the season with a stretch of 24 games in 25 days.

"It is pretty amazing to me, but since he got the nail taken off the pain has subsided," Melvin said. "It will be a bullpen [Monday] and we'll see where we go from there.

"We don't want to go too far and get a setback. If you are talking to him or talking to us, it's a little different story. He'd be pushing the envelope for Opening Day," Melvin added. "I still don't think that will be the case. We want to make sure he's not favoring it. He is going to fly back to San Diego to make sure he's sound and not favoring it."

Darvish figures to be worked into the back end of the rotation, too, because he is pitching for Japan in the WBC and could start the deciding game March 20.

"We're not sure what his timetable will be. It would have been one or the other [for Opening Day]," Melvin said. "Everything has been fine with his workload. We have no problem with that. Once you embrace the fact that they are there pitching for their country, there are some issues that you can't control."

A day after recording his first hits for the Padres since 2021, Fernando Tatis Jr.was not in the lineup Sunday. He has a left knee contusion, however the Padres said it wasn't serious and he could play Monday.