Marlins 'dodge a bullet' on Alvarez's hip strain
Jones' flip causes hurler to extend awkwardly, but injury not believed to be serious
CHICAGO -- Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez suffered a strained left hip on Sunday afternoon, but the injury doesn't appear to be serious.
"I feel good, thank God," Alvarez said.
Initially, there was reason for concern. Alvarez was cruising along at Wrigley Field before his outing came to an abrupt halt in the sixth inning of Miami's 4-3 win over the Cubs.
Alvarez was shaken up while covering first base on Luis Valbeuna's sharp grounder with one on and one out. First baseman Garrett Jones made a nice play to snare Valbuena's ground ball. But as Alvarez sprinted to cover first, Jones' underhand lob was high.
"The throw was high," Alvarez said. "I just tried to grab it. I tried to do the best I could to try to get him out and preserve the runner on second base from advancing to another base."
Alvarez made a nice leaping catch on the toss, but he overextended his legs in the process as he crumpled to the ground in pain.
"It was devastating," Jones said. "He's been pitching unbelievable for us. We wanted to win this ballgame, and for him to have to come out for a play like that, I was upset about it."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond and trainer Sean Cunningham tended to the right-hander, who tried to walk it off and hoped to remain in the game. Alvarez threw one warmup pitch, but didn't feel right and immediately was replaced by lefty Dan Jennings. The reliever followed by allowing a two-run triple.
The Marlins feel they may have escaped a more serious situation for their right-hander, who already has three shutouts this season and was working on a fourth.
"We're just hoping we'll know more tomorrow," Redmond said. "But it seems like we dodged a bullet. He landed hard and he got stretched out there, and hopefully it's nothing more than being sore."
Alvarez sounded confident that he will make his next start, whenever that may be. Miami is off on Monday and Thursday, which allows the club time to piece together its rotation. If Alvarez needs an extra day, he can get it.
"He's got enough time in between starts," Redmond siad. "He should be fine. Obviously we'll know better tomorrow and the next couple of days. He looked stiff out there after the play, so we wanted to make sure we did the right thing and get him out of there."
Miami's rotation can't sustain too many more setbacks. The club already is without Jose Fernandez for the rest of the season, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Alvarez is having a terrific season, reflected by his 2.56 ERA in 81 innings. He received a scare on May 28 at Washington, leaving after five innings with right elbow stiffness. He received one extra day of rest and returned to shut out the Rays on June 3 at Marlins Park.
One of the more athletic starting pitchers in the National League, Alvarez is an excellent fielder. He was hurt making an athletic play.
"At first I felt like I fell and I banged myself on ground," Alvarez said. "I just continued on. I got up, I felt I could continue to pitch. I went out there, I did what I could to pitch. At the end of the day, it was a decision by the manager."
The Jones error turned into a big play, because runners were on the corners with one out. Starlin Castro, who doubled with one out, moved to third on the play.
After Alvarez exited, Jennings gave up the go-ahead two-run triple to Nate Schierholtz. Of the two runs, one was earned, which snapped Alvarez's streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings, the third longest in club history.
Prior to the injury, Alvarez was efficient, throwing 69 pitches, 54 for strikes.
"He is athletic and he's trying to get that out," Redmond said. "He threw it all out there trying to make that play. He got exposed by the throw."