The Miami Marlins placed ace Sandy Alcantara on the injured list last Wednesday because of a strained flexor in his right forearm, the team announced. Subsequent testing has since revealed that Alcantara suffered a sprained ulnar collateral ligament -- that is, the ligament associated with Tommy John surgery -- according to what manager Skip Schumaker told reporters. Schumaker, for whatever it's worth, was "noncommittal" about Alcantara returning this season.
Alcantara, who turns 28 on Thursday, had compiled a 4.14 ERA (105 ERA+) and a 3.15 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 28 starts. Last season, of course, he won the National League Cy Young Award thanks to a 228-inning campaign that saw him notch a 2.28 ERA (176 ERA+) and a 4.14 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Alcantara has become the league's modern workhorse. Since 2021, he's accumulated 619 innings. The next closest pitcher in the majors, Gerrit Cole, has thrown just 562 innings. Alcantara appeared well on his way to a third consecutive 200-frame season. Now, it seems extremely unlikely to come to pass.
In addition to Alcantara, the Marlins also placed outfielder Jorge Soler on the IL last week with a strained oblique; designated righty Geoff Hartlieb for assignment; recalled outfielder Dane Myers and righty Edward Cabrera; and purchased the contract of lefty Devin Smeltzer.
Soler, 31, has hit .240/.329/.513 (126 OPS+) with 35 home runs and 71 RBI in 126 games. His contributions had been worth an estimated 1.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference's calculations.
The Marlins enter Wednesday with a 74-71 record on the season, putting them just outside of the playoff picture. Miami trails the Arizona Diamondbacks by 1.5 games for the third and final NL wild-card spot. Their pursuit of the postseason now looks tougher without Alcantara and Soler.