Vargas won't require surgery on right elbow

MRI shows Padres pitcher has flexor strain

Vargas won't require surgery on right elbow

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres were able to exhale a bit Thursday, upon learning that right-hander Cesar Vargas won't require surgery on his ailing elbow.

Results from an MRI earlier in the week revealed a flexor strain in Vargas' right elbow, which came about during his start Saturday night in Phoenix. Vargas was placed on the disabled list Sunday morning and will be evaluated in three weeks, manager Andy Green said.

"Then [we'll] figure out where the throwing program goes from there," Green said. "[Vargas] is basically shut down for three weeks right now. Let that rest, let it heal, and then find out how well that progresses."

Vargas got off to an impressive start in his Padres career, becoming just the second pitcher in club history to allow one run or fewer in each of his first three starts. He had a shaky outing in Chicago in mid-May, but followed that with another pair of solid outings, before his ERA ballooned to 5.03 after allowing seven runs against Arizona.

All the while, the Padres had been closely monitoring Vargas' pitch count, the prudent thing to do considering he hadn't started since 2013. He spent the past two seasons as a reliever in the Yankees organization.

The club had planned on giving Vargas a respite in the near future -- much in the same way they sent Colin Rea to Triple-A to limit his innings. Green said the increased work could very well have been a contributing factor to Vargas' injury.

"It's been a workload for him and something we're cognizant of," Green said. "We were going to do the exact same thing with him that we were doing in Colin Rea. He started last in [2013], so the first few times I was getting questioned why we took him out so quickly after five innings. It was more or less to protect him.

"As he built up, we felt good, especially the last time he threw [against the Dodgers]. ... Then he got to Arizona and you could tell he didn't have his normal life."

Baumann, Edwards on the mend

The Padres could get a boost in their organizational bullpen depth over the next few weeks with left-hander Buddy Baumann and right-hander Jon Edwards slated to begin rehab stints.

Edwards threw five outings at extended spring training and Green said his velocity reached the mid-90s mph. He's recovering from a flexor strain in his right elbow and is set to begin his rehab stint at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore.

Baumann, meanwhile, will rehab with Triple-A El Paso, recovering from a lower back strain. Neither hurler has pitched this season.

"As the opportunity presents itself, both of them will factor in," Green said when asked where the pair fits in his big league plans. "Had they been healthy, they both would have been here at least at some point in time and probably seen significant time in our bullpen."

Guthrie opts out of deal with Padres

Jeremy Guthrie opted out of his Minor League contract with the Padres on Wednesday, and the club granted Guthrie his release on Thursday.

The right-hander made 11 starts for Triple-A El Paso and posted a 6.60 ERA with a 1.57 WHIP.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.