Looking to snap a season high 7 game losing streak, the Miami Marlins will turn to de-facto staff ace Henderson Alvarez to turn things around for the team. Alvarez will be making his fourth start of the season, as he missed an entire month due to shoulder and elbow inflammation.
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The shoulder injury scare is nothing new, as Alvarez has missed time each of the past three seasons due to bouts with his shoulder. The elbow injury, especially after the Jose Fernandez injury last season, had many fans holding their breath.
Turns out, Alvarez has not had a healthy elbow for years, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
"Henderson Alvarez returned from shoulder trouble but looked like he needed another start. The really inspiring thing about Alvarez is, though, he’s pitched through what is said to be a “90 percent tear” in his UCL for years. So if some doubt it’s possible as Masahiro Tanaka tries it, Alvarez is one of those rare pitchers who’s been able to do it effectively for years …"
The first thing that popped into my head when I read this whether the Miami Marlins had knowledge of this when they acquired him from the Toronto Blue Jays, during the fire sale of 2012.
If they did, they took quite a risk, not only acquiring an injured starter, but also a guy that had owned a 5.18 FIP during the 2012 season.
Alvarez has pitched well for the Marlins in his 3+ seasons with the team and as MLB Trade Rumors notes, its not uncommon for a pitcher to pitch with an injury such as this. MLBTR notes Ervin Santana and Adam Wainwright as recent examples of pitchers who pitched with partially torn UCLs for several seasons.
Santana eventually had his elbow heal, but Wainwright has to have Tommy John surgery eventually to fix the damage in his elbow.
The Miami Marlins were rumored over the off-season to have interest in extending Alvarez, as he remains apart of the team’s core going forward. If the two sides did talk extension, Alvarez’s UCL definitely had to be a main talking point, as an extension with the 25-year old would carry plenty of risk for the Marlins.
While the revelation of this news might have Marlins fans watching Alvarez more closely tonight, the team, Alvarez, and his camp must know that the chances of him blowing out his elbow any time soon are not definite, otherwise he would not be on the mound in the first place.
His recent elbow injury that shelved him this season does seem a little more scary now, but it’s obviously not worrisome enough for Alvarez to not be pitching.