Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet made his much-anticipated 2021 debut on Wednesday against the Brewers, but it didn’t last long. Lamet left with forearm tightness after two innings and 29 pitches, the team announced.
Lamet spent the past several months recovering from a UCL strain – an injury that brought a premature end to his breakout 2020 season. Prior to Wednesday, he hadn’t taken the mound for the Padres since Sept. 25 of last year. The hard-throwing Lamet ended last season with stellar numbers – a 2.09 ERA/3.16 SIERA with a 34.8 percent strikeout rate in 69 innings – and could help form an elite foursome alongside Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove if he’s able to recover quickly and stay healthy for the remainder of the season. Of course, that’s now up in the air in light of Wednesday’s news, which is especially troubling when considering Lamet previously underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018.
If Lamet does have to miss more time, it would be the second shot to the Padres’ starting depth this week. The team learned Tuesday that lefty Adrian Morejon, who began the year in their rotation, will undergo TJ surgery. Even without Lamet and Morejon, San Diego could still form a capable five-man starting staff with Darvish, Snell, Musgrove, Chris Paddack and Ryan Weathers. However, there’s no doubt the Padres are a better team with a healthy Lamet, who finished fourth in National League Cy Young voting in 2020.