ST. LOUIS (AP) – If the San Diego Padres can get to Game 4 of their NL division series against the St. Louis Cardinals, ace Jake Peavy is optimistic he can pitch again with a broken rib.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Peavy said Wednesday. “We’ve got a great medical staff taking a look at all of our options, and I feel like we’ve got some pretty good options that we can take advantage of.

“Hopefully those can make me feel a whole lot better than I feel right now and I’ll get back out there.”

Peavy said team doctors are considering a numbing injection into the break, on his right side. Peavy, who led the NL in strikeouts while going 13-7 with a 2.88 ERA, said doctors believe his start in Game 1 worsened a rib injury sustained during the Padres’ on-field celebration after clinching the NL West title last week. But he said the doctors do not think he began the game with a broken rib.

Manager Bruce Bochy said he hadn’t been aware of the injury, although Peavy said the team doctors knew. In the days before the playoffs started, Peavy was confident the injury would not hinder him.

“Honestly, this was a non-issue,” Peavy said. “I felt like it was going to be no problem, as well as the whole staff. It wasn’t even on the medical report. That’s how insignificant we thought it was.”

For now, Bochy has slotted Adam Eaton (11-5) for Game 4.

Eaton had been the choice for a possible Game 5, but Bochy said that now would be determined later.

Bochy said Peavy’s injury should not affect the team’s mind-set.

“He’s not pitching tomorrow or the following day, so that’s behind us,” Bochy said. “We’ve got to keep pushing. We’ve had to deal with injuries, numerous injuries throughout the season, and the club’s done a great job of not dwelling on it, and they won’t on this one.”

Peavy wasn’t sure when he broke the rib, although he said the best guess would be on his third-inning, bases-loaded wild pitch when his spikes caught on the rubber and the pitch didn’t even make it to the dirt in front of home plate. In any case, he wasn’t using it as an excuse for lasting only 4 1-3 innings and giving up all the runs in an 8-5 loss.

“I didn’t know the extent of the injury until I came out of the game,” Peavy said. “Up until the last pitch I was telling myself I was capable of making pitches.

“Obviously, I wasn’t and I didn’t.”

Bochy said he thought Peavy threw well before the fifth, calling the Cardinals’ three-run third “buzzard luck.” Still, he hoped Peavy learned from this experience.

“It’s one thing to be a competitor or a warrior, but there’s a fine line between being a warrior and hurting a ballclub and Jake has to realize that,” Bochy said. “You have to draw the line at some point where you’re getting to the point of diminishing returns, sending a player out there who can’t perform close to his capabilities.”

Peavy said if he knew the injury was that serious, he would have said something. He said he felt “slowly worse and worse” as the game progressed.

“But there for a little bit I felt I was capable of making good pitches,” he said. “It’s real hard to start getting hit around and say you’re hurt. That never looks good.”

AP-ES-10-05-05 1910EDT

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