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Fernandez's attorney says previous leg injury led to elbow problem

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Did a leg injury lead to Jose Fernandez's Tommy John surgery?
Did a leg injury lead to Jose Fernandez's Tommy John surgery? (USATSI)

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Marlins ace Jose Fernandez underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Friday as baseball lost another one of its great young starters to injury. Elbows have been giving out all year.

According to Ralph Fernandez, Jose's attorney (no relation), the elbow injury occurred after Fernandez was struck by a line drive in his thigh in his second to last start. He told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that "prompted a completely unanticipated change in delivery that neither the staff nor his coaches could discern."

Spencer says manager Mike Redmond and two unnamed pitchers on the team said they did not notice any change in Fernandez's delivery. Redmond added the right-hander "absolutely" should have notified the coaching staff if he was experiencing discomfort after being hit in the leg.

"Jose was concerned about his arm," added his attorney. "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 the team down. Apparently the injury was worse than he believed."

Fernandez says his client tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in the third inning of his last start but did not notify the team he was hurt until leaving the game a few innings later. His velocity dropped off noticeably within that start:

I tend to believe that, if an elbow is going to give out, it's going to give out no matter what. Perhaps the line drive to the leg and a change in mechanics sped up the timetable, but there is no real way to know for sure.

That said, Fernandez and every other pitcher on the face of the Earth has to tell the coaching staff if he isn't 100 percent physically. I know he wants to win and help his team, but the big picture can not be ignored when it comes to pitcher injuries. Tell the coaching staff first, not your attorney.

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