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Season over, future in doubt for Marlins pitcher Wei-Yin Chen

Miami Marlins pitcher Wei-Yin Chen is done for the season due to continued elbow ligament issues.
Miami Marlins pitcher Wei-Yin Chen is done for the season due to continued elbow ligament issues. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

DENVER -- The signing of oft-injured Wei-Yin Chen is haunting the Marlins, and could continue to do so as the team continues to pay the remainder of his hefty contract over the coming three seasons.

Manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday that Chen was finished for the year and planned to visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache to determine the next course of action for the left-hander.

“I really didn’t count on him being back this year, honestly,” Mattingly said. “I’m not really sure if he’s going to be able to get back next year. I think this is — I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The Marlins signed Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal before the 2016 season. But Chen started just 22 games last year due to left elbow issues and only five this season before the problem re-surfaced.

After sitting out four months, Chen returned in early September. But after making his fourth relief appearance in Arizona on Friday, Mattingly said Chen complained of more discomfort.

“We know it’s there,” Mattingly said of the tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, which Chen has acknowledged having. “It keeps coming back, it kind of gets extended a little bit.”

Whether surgery is an option remains to be seen. Chen has already undergone Tommy John surgery once before.

“Those are all his choices to make,” Mattingly said. “But I’m just saying, at some point, he keeps bouncing back. It’s hard to say this guy is going to go out and throw 200 innings next year.”

Chen has a $10 million player option for 2018 that he’ll obviously exercise. The Marlins are also required him to pay him an $8 million bonus next season. He’s owed $20 million in 2019 and $22 million in 2020.

Chen isn’t the only starter for the Marlins who might not pitch for them next season. Edinson Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery in August and is unlikely to pitch at all in 2018. Volquez is due $13 million next season.

Mattingly is hopeful that Chen can return to the mound for the Marlins.

“There are guys that have pitched with it,” Mattingly said. “It’s just a matter of how we’re going to be able to manage it. Is it going to be a five-inning type thing? Seventy pitches? Is that going to hold up? Those type of things. You hope for the best, but we continue to see some concerns.”

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Marlins reliever Nick Wittgren underwent a “bone chip cleanup” on Tuesday but is expected to be ready for spring training.

Wittgren went on the disabled list in late July with a right elbow strain.

According to Wittgren’s Twitter page, Tuesday’s surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews.

Wittgren went 3-1 with a 4.68 ERA in 38 relief appearances.

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Derek Jeter’s stake in the Marlins won’t be as great as his influence.

According to Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports, Jeter will hold a 4 percent share in the franchise once Major League owners approve the sale.

Heyman, citing league sources, said Bruce Sherman will be the control person with a 46 percent stake in the team. Others on the six-member board will include David Ott (11 percent), Doug Kimmelman (9 percent), James Montealgue (7 percent) and John Troiano (6 percent).

Owners are expected to approve the sale within the next two weeks.

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COMING UP:

Wednesday -- Marlins LHP Adam Conley (7-7, 5.74) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (9-4, 3.62), 3:10 p.m., Coors Field.

Thursday -- Marlins LHP Dillon Peters (0-2, 6.31) vs. Atlanta Braves RHP Julio Teheran (11-12, 4.39), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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