An attorney for Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez said a sharp grounder that struck the right-hander in the thigh before his final start caused him to change his throwing motion and may have contributed to him needing season-ending elbow surgery.
Tampa-based attorney Ralph Fernandez explained the timeline for the pitcher’s injury in a lengthy statement to Miami media on Friday. He said the reigning NL Rookie of the Year had to alter his delivery after getting hit on the back of the left leg by a sharp grounder off the bat of Dee Gordon in the Marlins’ 5-4 win over Los Angeles on May 4 in Miami.
Fernandez pitched five innings at San Diego on May 9 in his last start before the Marlins announced he would need Tommy John elbow ligament-replacement surgery, which he had Friday in Los Angeles.
“Jose did not have a pre-existing condition,” Ralph Fernandez wrote in a statement. “While pitching during the recent Dodgers game in Miami he was struck by a ball on his rear thigh. This prompted a completely unanticipated change in delivery which neither the staff nor his coaches could discern.
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“After the game we spoke as we always do. Jose was concerned about his arm. Despite many exchanges on the subject in the days that followed he felt that with the Marlins regaining first place in the division he could not let his team down. Apparently the injury was worse than he believed. In San Diego in the third inning he suffered a traumatic event, tossed a couple of more innings and the rest is history.”
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said before the Marlins played the San Francisco Giants on Friday night that nobody on the team knew of Fernandez’s injury until his start in San Diego.
“I just think if it was bothering him, then he should have said something and we would’ve obviously shut him down and taken those precautions,” Redmond said.
Redmond also refuted that Fernandez changed his delivery after getting hit in the thigh against the Dodgers.
• The Texas Rangers will meet with left-hander Martin Perez on Saturday to determine if the injured starter will undergo Tommy John surgery.
The 23-year-old Perez felt discomfort in his elbow in his most start last Saturday. An examination revealed inflammation, and he said this week he’s leaning toward having the procedure done.
Perez is 4-3 with a 4.38 earned-run average in eight starts after going 10-6 as a rookie. He’s 0-3 with a 13.15 ERA following consecutive shutout losses.