SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An attorney for Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez said a sharp grounder that struck the right-hander in the thigh before his final start caused him to change his throwing motion and may have contributed to him needing season-ending elbow surgery.
Tampa-based attorney Ralph Fernandez explained the timeline for the pitcher's injury in a lengthy statement to Miami media on Friday. He said the reigning NL Rookie of the Year had to alter his delivery after getting hit on the back of the left leg by a sharp grounder off the bat of Dee Gordon in the Marlins' 5-4 win over Los Angeles on May 4 in Miami.
Fernandez pitched five innings at San Diego on May 9 in his last start before the Marlins announced he would need Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, which he had Friday in Los Angeles.
"Jose did not have a pre-existing condition," Ralph Fernandez wrote in a statement. "While pitching during the recent Dodgers game in Miami he was struck by a ball on his rear thigh. This prompted a completely unanticipated change in delivery which neither the staff nor his coaches could discern.
"After the game we spoke as we always do. Jose was concerned about his arm. 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 his team down. Apparently the injury was worse than he believed. In San Diego in the third ending he suffered a traumatic event, tossed a couple of more innings and the rest is history."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said before the Marlins played the San Francisco Giants on Friday night that nobody on the team knew of Fernandez's injury until his start in San Diego.
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