The Marlins have placed lefty Jesus Luzardo on the 15-day injured list due to a left forearm strain, reports Christina De Nicola of MLB.com. The move is retroactive to May 12. Lewis Diaz has been recalled in a corresponding move.
This is a worrisome development for both Luzardo and the club as forearm strains are often a precursor to Tommy John surgery. However, no further details have been released about the severity of Luzardo’s injury or what the next steps will be in terms of diagnosis or treatment. Those looking for optimism can turn to the starter himself, who spoke to De Nicolacharacterizing the move as precautionary and saying that it doesn’t feel the same as before he had Tommy John in high school.
Luzardo was a much-hyped prospect as he approached the majors while with the Athletics, with Baseball America considering him to be one of the top 10 prospects in the league in both 2019 and 2020. However, he struggled to live up to all of that hype in his first tastes of MLB action. Last year, he had a 6.87 ERA with the A’s and got himself demoted to Triple-A, before being sent to the Marlins in the Starling Mars trade.
This year, the 24-year-old had been showing signs of improvement, putting up an ERA of 4.03 over six starts. His 13.4% walk rate is certainly on the high side, but he’s paired that with an excellent 34.5% strikeout rate.
Regardless of how long Luzardo is out, the Marlins will have to reach into their pitching depth to shore up their rotation. By Nicholas relays that Cody Poteet will move from the bullpen to cover Luzardo’s scheduled start tomorrow. He made seven starts for the club last year with a 4.99 ERA, but has a miniscule 0.55 ERA over eight relief appearances so far this season. It will be difficult for him to maintain that going forward, however, as he currently has a .214 BABIP, 93.8% strand rate and 0% HR/FB rate, all numbers that are sure to regress towards the mean.
The club has options on the 40-man roster that could be recalled for the next turn through the rotation, including Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett and Jordan Holloway. Sixto Sánchez is also on the roster but not currently a realistic option. He missed the entirety of 2021 due to a shoulder injury that he’s still trying to work back from. Another option would be Max Mayer, considered by many to be the team’s best prospect and one of the top 100 in the league. He’s off to a great start this year, throwing 36 1/3 innings in Triple-A with a 2.97 ERA, 29.5% strikeout rate, 6.8% walk rate and 53.4% ground ball rate. He’s not currently on the 40-man roster and would require a corresponding move.