Padres notes: Yu Darvish appears lined up for another opening day start; Fernando Tatis Jr. held out

The Padres’ opening-day starter was going to be Joe Musgrove or Yu Darvish all along.

It will likely be Darvish for a third consecutive year now that Musgrove almost certainly will miss at least one start at the beginning of the season with a fractured left big toe. But it is at least conceivable neither one of the Padres’ top two pitchers will face the Rockies on March 30 at Petco Park.

“We’re not sure what (Darvish’s) timetable will be,” manager Bob Melvin said Sunday.

Darvish is pitching for Japan in the World Baseball Classic, and his next start is likely to be March 20 in the semifinals should Japan win its quarterfinal matchup on March 16.

That would seem to line up perfectly for the Padres, as it is 10 days before their season opener.

Darvish’s three opening-day starts would tie him with Andy Benes for fourth most in Padres history behind the four apiece by Randy Jones, Jakes Peavy and Eric Show.

Musgrove, who on Saturday threw off a mound for the first time since the Feb. 27 weight-room accident in which he dropped a kettlebell on his toe, is scheduled to throw off the mound again Monday before returning to San Diego to have his delivery screened biomechanically to make sure he is doing his usual movements.

He has kept his arm in shape by throwing weighted balls against a wall, but the concern is that the toe issue would cause him to compensate in another area of his body while throwing and increase the chance for injury.

Musgrove has his toe wrapped when he throws and wears a left shoe that is two sizes larger than his right. He said the pain in the toe is minimal now that his nail has been removed.

“It’s pretty amazing to me,” Melvin said Sunday in regard to Musgrove’s hastened healing pace. “… Kind of making sure we take it easy. We don’t want to go too far and get a setback with it. He’s been good about keeping his arm going, and now that he’s in spikes and gotten off the mound, we have to be careful going forward. … If it were for up to him, he’d be pushing the envelope for opening day. I still don’t think that’ll be the case.”

Musgrove, who the team initially expected to miss at least two starts, has not ruled out being ready for opening day but said his realistic goal is to debut on April 6 in Atlanta. That is the season’s seventh game and would mean the Padres either had their opening-day starter go twice or used a sixth starter before Musgrove joins the rotation.

Careful with Tatis

Fernando Tatis Jr. did not play in Sunday’s 8-6 loss to the A’s, as the Padres decided it was better to rest him after he suffered a bruised left knee Saturday.

“My guess is he is gonna be able to play tomorrow,” Melvin said. “If he does, he’ll DH.”

Tatis was struck on the knee Saturday by an attempted pickoff throw by White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger in the first inning. Tatis batted twice more that game, hitting a double in his final at-bat and later and scoring from second base. He appeared to be moving well Sunday morning.

Morejon injury

Left-hander Adrian Morejón departed Sunday’s game with pain above his left elbow.

The 24-year-old Morejón, who has been best by injuries, walked off the mound accompanied by an athletic trainer after allowing a three-run homer in the seventh inning. After a 1-2-3 sixth inning, his first, Morejón allowed a total of four runs in the seventh.

He was still reaching 96 mph in his final inning, which is consistent with where he has been this spring.

“Hopefully that’s encouraging,” Melvin said of Morejón’s maintained velocity.

Morejón was slowed in the minors by recurring shoulder injuries and had Tommy John surgery in April 2021. He thew just 34 innings last season and was working this spring to expand his pitch arsenal to be a long reliever and spot starter.

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