PEORIA, Ariz. -- It turns out that right-hander Tim Stauffer was hurting Saturday when he came out of his start against the Cubs at Mesa, Ariz., after one inning. Padres manager Bud Black revealed Sunday morning, hours before the Padres lost, 14-7, to the White Sox at Peoria Stadium, that Stauffer has been shut down for five to seven days because of a muscle strain near his right biceps. Black, the former Angels pitching coach who is in his first year as a big-league manager, said that he wasn't sure about Stauffer's status after the game Saturday and that's why he didn't release the information then.
"That's why he came out," Black said during his morning media session. "He might have come out anyway even if he was healthy just based on his pitch count. But he reported when he came out that he didn't feel like he could go back out." Stauffer, who was the Padres' first-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, allowed four of the first five batters he faced to reach base, including a three-run homer off the bat of Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, his second of the spring. Stauffer was scheduled to throw two innings, but he said he was yanked by mutual consent with Black, who said at the time that Stauffer had already exceeded his pitch limit. "I just didn't feel too great from the get-go," said Stauffer on Saturday after allowing three runs on three hits -- including the homer -- while walking one. "I kind of labored a little bit and didn't make too many good pitches. I just couldn't get it done." Stauffer was probably ticketed for Triple-A Portland anyway as a fallback starter if any of the Padres' elder statesmen -- David Wells and Greg Maddux -- suffer injuries. Now right-hander Mike Thompson, who made 16 starts for the Padres last season, may be wedged into that position and kept on the team in a long relief role. Thompson, who made 19 appearances and was 4-5 with a 4.99 earned run average in 2006, replaced Stauffer on Saturday and worked three innings of scoreless, two-hit ball. "Mike did a good job," Black said. "It was good to see him throw three zeros in what you could call a long relief role. His innings were scheduled for the third and fourth." As far as Stauffer is concerned, Black added: "It's March 18. If this is only a five-to-seven-day event, he'll be able to get back on the mound before Spring Training ends, get a start in or two, start the season in Portland and be in their rotation. If that's how it turns out, he'll be part of our [pitching] depth."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.