ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After nearly eight months of rumors, Jake Peavy may be off the trade market this summer.
The Padres will place their ace right-hander on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with an ankle injury that could sideline him for as long as three months, well past the July 31 trade deadline. At the very least, he's not expected to return until after the July 15 All-Star Game.
Peavy, who was hurt while running the bases on May 22, was diagnosed with a strained tendon in his right foot. Technically, it's a strain of the posterior tibialis, a muscle that starts under the tibia and runs behind the ankle and attaches to the navicular, one of the main bones in the arch.
The Padres say there is some tearing in the muscle and tendon and that Peavy will wear a cast for two to four weeks. He is in a hard cast now and will be re-evaluated after two weeks, at which point he will either switch to a walking boot or, if the healing hasn't progressed far enough, he'll remain in a hard cast.
Best-case scenario is that Peavy can return in about a month, but there's no question the club is concerned it could be longer.
"It could be eight weeks, easy," Todd Hutcheson, San Diego's head athletic trainer, said Friday before the Padres opened a series against the Los Angeles Angels. "It could be 12 weeks if things don't come along as fast as we'd like them to.
"It's a little, tiny muscle, but it sure makes a difference in how his leg works.
"We've got to make sure we do the right thing."
Peavy first felt a twinge in the foot while rounding third on May 22 following a Tony Gwynn double when, thinking he could score, he instead made a quick stop.
"My ankle slid a little," Peavy said. "I didn't feel anything jarring. It was just a little uncomfortable."
Peavy didn't even mention anything to the training staff until the next day, when the pain continued and he thought he had injured his Achilles tendon. With heavy treatment, he made his next three starts. But the pain in his foot continued.
"I know it hurt and I wasn't 100 percent, but I thought I was good enough to be out there," Peavy said.
To a degree, it was: It has not bothered him when he's moving forward in his delivery to the plate.
"I can move forward, but it really bothers me if I have to run to my side or angle over to cover first," he said.
Though Peavy and the club both say the pitcher did not further damage his foot by attempting to pitch with the pain, the determination was finally made following an MRI exam on Friday that he could inflict further damage if he continues to push it.
"It could get worse if he's not able to plant (the foot properly)," Hutcheson said. "If you can't stabilize the foot, then your mechanics are going to change, and if you change your mechanics you risk (an arm injury)."
The injury not only is a blow to the Padres, who were 28-31 and 11 games behind first-place Los Angeles in the National League West entering Friday night's game, on the field, but also in the trade market. The club remains roughly $5 million over its self-imposed $40 million budget and has been attempting to deal Peavy since November.
Ironically, this injury occurred on May 22, the day Peavy formally rejected the Padres' attempt to trade him to the Chicago White Sox.