Jose Fernandez’s arm injury was precipitated by a chain reaction of events that began when a line drive struck him in the thigh in his next-to-last game, according to the pitcher’s friend and attorney.
That “prompted a completely unanticipated change in delivery which neither the staff nor his coaches could discern,” culminating in a “traumatic” arm injury when Fernandez pitched next on May 9 in San Diego, said his Tampa-based attorney, Ralph Fernandez, in a statement that was released Friday after the pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in Los Angeles.
But Marlins manager Mike Redmond questioned that assertion.
“I don’t think it affected his delivery,” Redmond said of the line drive. “He looked the same to me in that game after that.”
Two Marlins pitchers who asked to remain anonymous said they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary in Fernandez’s delivery after being struck by the line drive.
“Looked the same to me,” said one. “It [the arm injury] just happened.”
Furthermore, Redmond said Fernandez “absolutely” should have notified the Marlins’ coaching and training staff if he was experiencing discomfort after his May 4 start against the Dodgers, something the attorney said the pitcher confided to him.
“Jose was concerned about his arm,” Ralph Fernandez (no relation to the pitcher) said in the statement. “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.”
Ralph Fernandez said Jose Fernandez tore the ulnar collateral ligament in the third inning of his next start on May 9 in San Diego.
Jose Fernandez didn’t notify anyone on the Marlins he was having arm discomfort until after the San Diego outing, Redmond said.
“If it was bothering him [before the San Diego game], then he should have said something and we would have obviously shut him down,” Redmond said. “If the arm wasn’t feeling good, or he had any discomfort at all, the right person to tell would be me, the trainer or [pitching coach Chuck Hernandez]. If that was the case, we could have taken care of it at that time.”
Fernandez’s surgery on Friday was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles.
“We are pleased that Jose’s surgery went well,” said Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president of baseball operations. “We are confident Jose will approach his rehab with the same energy and passion that are his trademark.’’
Ralph Fernandez issued his statement “in order to reduce speculation.”
Some have said they thought the pitcher could rehabilitate his arm without the need for surgery.
But the Marlins and his agent, Scott Boras, said Fernandez sustained a “significant” tear, and that surgery was the only option. Two different doctors — ElAttrache and Marlins team team physician Dr. Lee Kaplan — examined the pitcher and reached the same conclusion.
Said Ralph Fernandez: “One of the practical factors that we considered in reaching the decision that he follow the consensus in medical advice was the absolute agreement between Jeffrey Loria, owner of the Marlins, and Scott Boras, Jose’s agent. Their agreement on anything [involving] Jose, from a legal and practical perspective, creates an irrefutable presumption that this was the proper course.”
The standard recovery process for Tommy John recipients is 12 to 18 months.
A pronounced hitting slump has landed outfielder Marcell Ozuna on the bench. Reed Johnson started his third consecutive game in left field while Christian Yelich moved into Ozuna’s position in center.
Ozuna is hitting .149 this month.
Baseball’s new replay rules were designed to turn wrongs into rights. But the new rules don’t cover every play and situation. Just ask the Marlins.
They were burned not once, but twice on the same pivotal play in Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Giants.
Not only did the umps appear to blow a call when Hunter Pence’s foot appeared to come in contact with the ball while still in fair territory — an out in the rulebook — but the Marlins couldn’t challenge the play because it’s not reviewable under the new replay rules.
“If we’re going to emphasize getting all the calls right,” Redmond complained of the new replay rules, which cover most — but not all — plays, “then we should get them all right, right?”
Whether that play decided the outcome is debatable.
But Redmond said it was undeniably “big” and had a direct bearing on the decisive inning, when the Giants came up with three runs in the fifth to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 lead.
“The aftermath of not getting that out was three runs,” Redmond said.
Here’s what happened:
With a runner on first and no outs, Pence hit a soft grounder along the first-base line. As he was running toward first, his foot appeared to graze the ball in fair territory, deflecting it foul.
The umpires called it a foul ball.
“Nobody saw it,” Redmond said of the umpires. “They didn’t see him kick it. They thought it spun foul.”
Tejada, a veteran of 16 major-league seasons and the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2002, is presently serving a 105-game suspension after testing positive for amphetamines.