The worst fears of Miami Marlins fans were realized Tuesday when ace pitcher Jose Fernandez was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm.
Fernandez is reportedly seeking a second opinion on the diagnosis. The initial diagnosis came with a recommendation for Tommy John surgery. The surgery, nicknamed for the former pitcher, involves taking a ligament from elsewhere in the body and using it to replace the damaged ulnar collateral ligament.
According to CBSSports.com, Fernandez was scheduled to see the Marlins team doctor, Lee Kaplan, at some point on Tuesday to see if he agrees with the initial diagnosis.
If Tommy John surgery is performed, Fernandez is done for the rest of the current season and part of next season as well. A best-case scenario for a recovery time would be roughly one year from the date of the surgery.
The surgery, according to multiple reports, has around a 90 percent success rate but the better in shape the arm is, the higher the chance of success becomes.
Fernandez most likely suffered the injury during a 10-1 loss to the San Diego Marlins over the weekend. The Padres got six earned runs on Fernandez in just five innings of work. Fernandez was put on the 15-day disabled list Monday when word began to spread he was facing Tommy John surgery.
Losing Fernandez will be a devastating blow to the Marlins, who were showing signs of life this season, especially at Marlins Park. Fernandez games brought big crowds to Marlins Park to see the rising superstar mow down opposing batters.
With crowds declining with Fernandez out, it could impact the Marlins’ bottom line as well.
Fernandez was 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA this season and was a leading early-season candidate for the Cy Young Award. He had 70 strikeouts in just 51.2 innings pitched over eight games. The Marlins managed Fernandez’s innings during his rookie season and shut him down before the end of the season.
Fernandez was still good enough to earn the National League Rookie of the Year award last season.
This year, there has been an explosion of Tommy John surgery. According to CBSSports.com, Fernandez will be the 18th pitcher to go through the surgery since spring training began. Doctors say the rise of year-round baseball leagues is helping drive the explosion of Tommy John surgery.