Padres' Estes will miss season after elbow surgery

PITTSBURGH -- San Diego Padres left-hander Shawn Estes decided to have reconstructive left elbow surgery after consulting with three doctors and will miss the rest of this season and possibly the start of the 2007 season.

The Padres also decided Friday that staff ace Jake Peavy (4-5, 4.15 ERA) will miss his scheduled start Saturday in Pittsburgh because of right shoulder tendinitis. Mike Thompson (2-1, 3.50 ERA) will start in his place.

Peavy is expected to start Tuesday against Milwaukee following eight days of rest.

"We talked to Jake, he's fine, he understands this is probably the best thing," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's fine with it, and this will give him a few more days to get the tendinitis calmed down."

Estes strained a ligament his left elbow during his first game with San Diego on April 5 and went on the disabled list two days later. While attempting to rehabilitate the injury last week, he felt discomfort in the elbow and decided to have the surgery after talking to other players who have had the operation.

"He felt it on the 33rd pitch he threw, a curve ball, so he had another MRI and it showed some separation there," Bochy said Friday. "This is why he's having the surgery. There was a 20 percent chance, if he would continue to rehabilitate, he could pitch -- and those aren't very good odds.

"He's talked to a lot of players and by far the consensus is this is the best thing, and we agree."

Estes will have the operation June 7, and the Padres aren't certain how long he will be out.

"It used to be 18 months, now it can be anywhere from eight months to 14 or 15 months," Bochy said.

Bochy said the options were for Estes to try to come back with a limited repertoire without surgery or to have the operation and likely have the same pitches he had before he was hurt.

"If he came back, you're probably taking the curve ball out of the repertoire, and that's a big pitch for him at times," Bochy said.

Estes signed a $1 million, one-year deal with the Padres in January despite missing two months of the 2005 season with Arizona because of an ankle injury. He had a 7-8 record with a 4.80 ERA while making 21 starts.

Estes, 33, is 99-90 with a 4.71 ERA in 11 major league seasons. He also has pitched for the Giants, Mets, Reds, Cubs and Rockies. He went 19-5 with a 3.18 ERA for the Giants in 1997.