A freak hunting accident probably will cost the San Diego Padres the services of right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner at the start of next season.
Cashner had surgery Dec. 4 to repair a lacerated tendon in his right thumb. Cashner suffered a puncture wound when he was accidentally stabbed by a friend while the pair was trimming a carcass.
Although it took only two stitches to close the wound, the laceration required a surgical repair.
"It's a three-month recovery," Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said. "The doctors don't expect any long-term consequences, but Andrew will be behind. To say he'll be ready by Opening Day is unrealistic."
Cashner was expected to compete for a spot in the rotation. Now he will most likely join starters Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland on the disabled list for Opening Day. Luebke and Wieland are recuperating from Tommy John surgery.
Cashner's injury is the second setback suffered by the Padres this offseason. Catcher Yasmani Grandal drew a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone.
"This was not Plan A," said Byrnes, who had included Cashner among his pitching candidates before coming to the winter meetings seeking two more starting pitchers. The Padres re-signed free agent Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million contract Dec. 3 moments after the opening of the meetings. Byrnes said the Padres would continue to seek only one more starter even with the temporary loss of Cashner.
Cashner, 26, was 3-4 with a 4.27 ERA in 33 games (five starts) for the Padres last season, although he missed much of the second half of the season with a latissimus dorsi strain that led to complications in a tendon behind his right armpit.
Cashner, whose fastball routinely reached triple digits early last season while he was a reliever through his first 27 appearances, came to the Padres from the Chicago Cubs last Jan. 6 in a trade for first base prospect Anthony Rizzo.
The loss of Cashner leaves the Padres with eight starting pitching candidates going into spring training -- Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Marquis, Eric Stults, Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, Anthony Bass and Tyson Ross. The Padres are also discussing re-signing Tim Stauffer, who made only one start last season before having season-ending elbow surgery. San Diego might give Stauffer a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.