SAN DIEGO -- Padres starting pitcher Cory Luebke said a doctor's exam showed a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, and he is deciding whether to undergo surgery or try pitching with the tear.
Luebke said he will reach a decision soon, possibly in a few days. He is two weeks into a possible six-week rehabilitation period if he opts to try pitching with the partial tear.
"We're trying to weigh our options and make the right decision," Luebke said.
If Luebke continues to rehab and he is unable to pitch with the tear, he acknowledged he would feel those several weeks were "wasted" because that would push back his return next season from possible Tommy John surgery. Recovery from that surgery typically takes a year. He has been on the disabled list since May 2, retroactive to April 28.
"Every day I miss now is a day next season," Luebke said. "The thought of risking six, seven, eight weeks here trying to get ready for this season is scary for me. That's six to eight weeks of next season you've got to take off from the get-go."
Luebke visited specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum last week for a second opinion, and the exam confirmed the partial tear. The decision whether to have surgery or wait and try to pitch is a group decision, Luebke said.
"You've got to explore all the options, and if it comes down to the two options of surgery or no surgery, you've got to make sure you're all in when you decide which way to go," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Cory is working through a big decision. His case is not clear cut."