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Padres shut down Yu Darvish for season due to elbow stress reaction as brutal 2023 continues

The San Diego Padres' bizarrely ineffective 2023 season is all but over, but that doesn't mean there isn't time for more bad news.

Padres manager Bob Melvin told reporters Tuesday that the team is shutting down starting pitcher Yu Darvish for the season after an MRI revealed a bone spur in his pitching elbow. Dennis Lin of The Athletic later reported the spur to be an olecranon stress reaction and said Darvish tried to pitch through it.

Darvish hasn't pitched since a four-inning, five-earned-run outing Aug. 25 against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was already on the 15-day injured list due to right elbow inflammation and received a cortisone injection in his right arm. There was previously hope that he could return in late September after playing catch last Tuesday, per MLB.com, but that's no longer happening.

This injury ends what had been a massively disappointing season for the 37-year-old, with a 4.56 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 141 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings.

An injury-shortened and ineffectual season wasn't what the Padres envisioned when they gave the right-hander a six-year, $108 million contract extension last offseason. At the time, Darvish was on track to hit free agency this winter after posting one of the best seasons of his career in 2022, with a 3.10 ERA in 194 2/3 innings.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 17: Yu Darvish #11 of the San Diego Padres looks on during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at PETCO Park on August 17, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)
Yu Darvish last pitched in August. Now he's not coming back. (Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images)

The Padres entered Tuesday with a 68-77 record and sitting eight games back from the third and final NL wild-card spot with only 17 games left to play. Their season has been bad to a fascinating degree, given how many of their most important players — Blake Snell, Ha-Seong Kim, Juan Soto, Michael Wacha, Josh Hader, etc. — are posting stats ranging from good to great.

But there's not much mystery when it comes to Darvish. At least for this season.