Miami Marlins Rumors: Henderson Alvarez expected to be placed on DL


It’s looking more likely now that Miami Marlins right hander Henderson Alvarez will be placed on the disabled list following an MRI on his pitching arm on Monday:

If true, this is a huge blow to the 1-5 Marlins. Last year, Alvarez assumed the role as the team’s impromptu ace after Jose Fernandez went down in May, and Alvarez pitched to a 2.65 ERA with a league-best three complete game shutouts on the season. In his first two starts of 2015, Alvarez owns a 4.50 ERA over 12 innings with five strikeouts. He lasted just five innings (83 pitches) in yesterday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

We don’t know the extent of the shoulder injury, but it’s worth noting that the word “tear” hasn’t been floated around anywhere. So perhaps this will just be a 15-day stint and Alvarez can return later this month.

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In the interim, Mat Latos will become the Marlins “ace.” Latos had an absolutely dreadful Marlins debut last week, surrendering seven runs to the Atlanta Braves in just two-thirds of an inning. He faces those same Braves tonight in Atlanta. Latos’ ERA stands at a crooked 94.50.

The rest of the Marlins’ rotation — Tom Koehler, Dan Haren and Jarred Cosart — will need to pick up the slack and pitch beyond their expected means if Alvarez indeed hits the DL. The trio looked solid in their first appearances on the season, so there’s certainly some promise there.

The Marlins have a few options as to who can man the fifth spot in the rotation for now. David Phelps has started games in the past, and Brad Hand made the club out of Spring Training as a long reliever, but also stuck around in the event of situations like this.

Top prospect Justin Nicolino, who has made one Triple-A start so far in this young season, is a long shot to earn a callup right now. The Marlins could always turn to reliever Carter Capps, who pitched well in his first stint with the Marlins last year. While the rotation largely looked good in the first week, Miami’s bullpen looked quite the opposite. If Hand or Phelps slide over to the rotation for a spot start or two, calling up Capps could be a big help to the Marlins’ ailing ‘pen.

Losing Henderson Alvarez for a couple weeks (hopefully no more) is a shot in the gut, but it’s not the end of the world. The Marlins are reeling right now, but the bats are due to wake up from their winter hibernation any day now. If that happens on this road trip, the Fish have a chance to stay above water and make up for their sluggish start to this promising season.

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Next: State of the Marlins rotation after week 1