The 2023 MLB regular season is coming right up with less than a week before Opening Day, but the San Diego Padres might already be down a key member of their bullpen by the time they play their first game of the campaign.

Via Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune:

“Robert Suarez, the right-handed setup man who was instrumental in the team’s postseason run and signed a five-year, $46 million contract in November, has been sidelined by what is described as arm “stiffness” and joint inflammation. The team’s inclination at this point is to place him on the injured list at the start of the season.”

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Suarez has not seen any action since March 12. He underwent tests to get a full picture of what's wrong with his arm, and while MRIs on his arm and bicep haven't revealed any structural damage, the Padres could still practice caution and keep him out until he's 100% ready to give it a go again on the mound.

If he gets put on the injured list, Suarez can make his return to the Padres' active roster as early as April 7, which would put him on track to make his 2023 MLB season debut during the San Diego series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at home.

Suarez appeared in a total of 45 games in 2022 when he recorded a 2.27 ERA to go with a 3.22 FIP and 1.049  WHIP across 47.2 innings. He also posted a 166 ERA+ and a .248 BABIP. He was rewarded by the Padres in November 2022 with a five-year deal worth $46 million.