Henderson Alvarez, who ended the 2013 season with a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers and is expected to be the Marlins’ No. 3 starter when the season begins, will miss his first scheduled start of the spring as he recovers from an infection in his right shin.
Alvarez was taken to a local hospital Tuesday to have the infection drained. Spotted limping around camp Wednesday morning, Alvarez is expected to be out for another three to four days, according to manager Mike Redmond. But the skipper expects the 23-year-old right-hander to be ready for the start of the season.
“I think it started as an ingrown hair and got infected,” Redmond said. “We were treating it. It just wasn’t getting better. We wanted to be proactive and make sure it was getting taken care of. We got in there, got it cleaned out.”
Alvarez missed the start of last season with right shoulder inflammation and went 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA, 57 strikeouts and 27 walks in 17 starts. The Marlins were happy with how he fared in the Venezuelan Winter League. Alvarez went 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in five starts.
“It shouldn’t affect him,” Redmond said. “He obviously won’t make the start on Sunday, but he’s pitched quite a bit. It shouldn’t affect him and his ability to bounce back. He still has plenty of time to get his pitches in and get him ramped up for Opening Day.”
Redmond said that left-hander Brad Hand, battling for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, will start in Alvarez’s place Sunday when the Marlins play the Nationals in Viera.
The Marlins play a pair of split-squad games Saturday. Nathan Eovaldi will start against the Cardinals in Jupiter, and veteran Kevin Slowey will pitch against the Mets in Port St. Lucie.
Closer Steve Cishek has never been a fan of the show Survivor, but he was planning on tuning in Wednesday night to watch team president David Samson make his debut on the show’s 28th season premier.
Samson, who turned 46 on Wednesday, is one of 18 contestants on the long-running hit reality TV show, in which the participants are castaways in the Philippine province of Cagayan. Samson is one of six members of the “Brains Tribe.”
“He’s obviously a bright person, so I’m assuming he probably found a way to get to the top, some way or the other,” Cishek said. “He’s obviously in good shape, too. He ran like a bazillion miles last year. The marathon thing he did [in 2012] was insane. I couldn’t believe he did that. He got a lot of props for that for sure.”
Redmond said he planned on tuning in to the show, too, if he “could stay up that late.”
Which current Marlins player would do the best on Survivor? Redmond said catcher Jeff Mathis, an avid hunter in the offseason, and Slowey, who climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro two years ago with former Twins teammate and Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, would be great contestants.
Cishek called right-handed reliever and roommate Chris Hatcher the perfect “survivalist.”
“He’s like MacGyver,” Cishek said of Hatcher. “He’s fixed my bike so I can go pond to pond with my fishing pole attached to it. He’s fixed the kitchen sink twice. He was going to fix the washer and dryer before we just decided to buy a new one. He knows how to rig things together MacGyver-style.”• Redmond said the Marlins are looking to ease 36-year-old second baseman Rafael Furcal into action early in camp. Furcal missed all of the 2013 season with the Cardinals following Tommy John surgery and is making the transition from shortstop to second base.
“He’ll play Saturday,” Redmond said. “A guy like Furcal, I know he’s feeling good, but at the same time I want to ease him into it, make sure he’s got his legs under him and is healthy for Opening Day.”
COMING UP• Thursday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (8-4, 3.11 ERA) vs. FIU RHP Chris Mourelle (2-0, 1.08), 1:05 p.m., Jupiter.
• Friday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (12-6, 2.19) vs. Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (2-1, 5.08), 1:05 p.m., Jupiter.