Arms hammered: Marlins place Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos on DL
MIAMI — The Miami Marlins placed starting pitchers Henderson Alvarez and Mat Latos on the 15-day disabled list following Friday night’s 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, their eighth straight defeat.
With righty Jarred Cosart also sidelined with vertigo, that makes three of five starters from the Opening Day rotation on the DL. That doesn’t include ace Jose Fernandez, who continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery.
Alvarez, who surrendered six runs in five-plus innings in Friday’s loss, heads back to the DL with right shoulder inflammation. He also missed time in 2013 and 2014 with inflammation in the same shoulder.
Manager Dan Jennings said Alvarez felt the discomfort during the decisive sixth when the 25-year-old righty walked two straight batters on eight pitches before throwing a ball into left field on a sacrifice bunt. Miami had him intentionally walk Alejandro De Aza to load the bases for reliever Steve Cishek.
In the five-plus innings, Alvarez threw 85 pitches — just 47 for strikes. Alvarez, who usually exercises control, issued four walks. He had done that just three other times in his previous 50 starts as a Marlin.
Alvarez, a 2014 All-Star, hasn’t looked like himself this season in four starts, going 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA. He initially went on the DL on April 13 with right shoulder inflammation. He pitched in one rehab game, going six scoreless innings on May 12 for Single-A Jupiter before being activated.
"It hasn’t been enough time yet to totally determine, but I’ve got to tell you, he’s a gutsy kid," Jennings said of the injury’s severity. "He went out there and tried to fight through it. You know what? We need him to be right. He’s not 100 percent, so we’re going to put him out there, DL him, give him a chance to get his shoulder and his strength back ’cause we’re gong to need him. This guy’s an All-Star pitcher. We’re going to need him healthy so that he can help us."
Latos, acquired in the offseason trade with the Cincinnati Reds, lands on the DL with left knee inflammation. It’s the same knee that he had drained and pushed his spring training schedule back. It’s also the same knee he underwent surgery on in February 2014 that kept him out until June.
Through nine starts, Latos didn’t look like his top-of-the-rotation self, posting a 1-4 record and 6.12 ERA. Twice he left outings early with injuries (left hamstring strain and left shin contusion).
"He still has that bruise and it’s pretty significant, but it’s something with his knee that’s been ongoing," Jennings said. "He’s battled, he’s battled through it. He’s taken the ball. We just need him to dedicate some time strictly to rebuild the strength in that knee and come back to his 100-percent level."
There will be corresponding roster moves prior to Saturday’s game. Potential candidates include top prospect Justin Nicolino, who is 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA in eight starts with Triple-A New Orleans. Righty Jose Urena (4-0, 1.21 ERA), who made two relief appearances in April during a call-up, is another option. Should Miami not want to deplete that level’s depth, it could turn to someone like righty Kendry Flores (2-3, 1.95 ERA) in Double-A Jacksonville. All three guys are on the 40-man roster.
"That’s a good guess," Jennings said of whether the guys would come from the Zephyrs.