SAN FRANCISCO -- When the pain in Tim Stauffer's stomach wouldn't go away in the wee hours Tuesday, the San Diego reliever did a quick Internet search on his iPhone and figured out he might have appendicitis.
He nailed it. Only a matter of hours later after some tests, he underwent an emergency appendectomy. The Padres then placed him on the 15-day disabled list. The pitcher was released Wednesday from St. Mary's Medical Center in San Francisco and returned to the ballpark eager to get back to work -- but, he knows, in due time.
"I'm not going to be out on the field until I'm 100 percent," Stauffer said. "It's one of those things there's nothing you can really do about it, just get it taken care of and move on. Hopefully it heals pretty quickly."
Stauffer was greeted with handshakes and fist bumps when he arrived at AT&T Park about an hour before the start of the middle game of the first-place Padres' three-game series against the NL West rival Giants.
It will be about a week before Stauffer can return to cardiovascular workouts, though he can do some shoulder exercises in the meantime. He hopes to return to the mound in less than a month.
"I hope to be on the lower side of the timeline," Stauffer said.
Stauffer began feeling ill a half-hour after having a late dinner with his wife and her family Monday night on the team's off day in the Bay Area. He was in "constant pain" and awake much of the night, then got sick around 3 a.m. Still, he didn't think he had food poisoning and immediately contacted Padres athletic trainer Todd Hutcheson. That's when the team decided he needed to go to a hospital for tests.
This was a tough break for a pitcher who was in a groove. He's just happy the problem was caught early.
"Obviously it's pretty upsetting to have it happen, especially during the season," Stauffer said. "There's nothing you can do about it."
Stauffer made a spot start Sunday in Houston and pitched five shutout innings in place of Kevin Correia, who returned to San Diego following the death of his 21-year-old brother Trevor Brent Correia in a hiking accident.
The 27-year-old Stauffer is 2-1 with a 0.39 ERA in 10 appearances this season. He has had success this season in his new role as a reliever, and manager Bud Black said he's optimistic Stauffer will return to his old form once he's back.
"I'm not able to exert too much energy," said Stauffer, who will be limited to lots of walking in the coming days. "I've seen guys come back in three weeks."