LOS ANGELES (AP) — Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez has a significant tear in his right elbow and the team doctor has recommended season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Team president Michael Hill made the announcement in the Dodger Stadium press box during Tuesday night's game against Los Angeles.
"Pitching's a precious commodity and we've always tried to be very careful with it. So you try to err on the side of caution," Hill said. "We've done everything we've thought was the right thing, as to how we've handled him. It's just one of those things that happened."
The 21-year-old Fernandez is 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA in eight starts. Last season's NL Rookie of the Year was examined Tuesday by Marlins team physician Lee Kaplan in Florida.
Fernandez would be the latest star pitcher in the majors to have Tommy John surgery this year. The recovery time for the elbow ligament transplant procedure can be 12 to 18 months.
The Marlins put their Cuban ace on the 15-day disabled list Monday.
"I think like any 21-year-old kid who hasn't had an injury or been hurt, it's tough," manager Mike Redmond said.
"I'm sure he feels like he's letting his teammates down because he got hurt, and all the things that come with the type of competitor he is. But all we really want is for him to be OK and getting himself healthy and getting back to the ballclub. That's the important thing," he said.
Fernandez is visiting with his family to talk about his options with surgery looming.
"He didn't really give us an idea of when," Hill said. "Obviously, a lot has gone on the past few days, so for him it's a lot to take in and a lot to absorb. So he's just taking the time to digest all the information he's been given from both doctors."