Preston Claiborne was bothered by a shoulder injury towards the end of spring training and will be without another veteran reliever in 2015. According to FOX Sports Florida's Christina De Nicola, Marlins reliever Aaron Crow will undergo Tommy John surgery in New York on Wednesday.
"Going into the season, you don't expect to a lose a guy so quickly," manager Mike Redmond said. "He is a part of that depth we talk about having. It's nice to have. To lose him -- that's a blow because you never know when you're going to need those guys. I feel bad for him more than anything because I know he was looking forward to a fresh start with us and a chance to go out and help us win ballgames, and he's not going to be able to do that."
After being acquired from Kansas City in November, the Marlins were hoping Crow would compete for a spot in the bullpen. He felt elbow pain on March 29 after his last spring appearance and an MRI revealed a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.
Crow, 28, posted a 4.12 ERA and 5.40 FIP in 59.0 innings pitched with the Royals last season. He posted a 2.25 ERA in eight innings this spring, walking four and striking out nine. Crow also made the American League All-Star team as a rookie, and in what would be his final spring outing against the Astros allowed a hit and a walk to complement a strikeout.
The rehab process for Tommy John surgery is usually between 12 and 18 months. Crow joins Marlins starter Jose Fernandez, who also had the procedure and is expected to return in June or July.
Miami's opening day bullpen included Brad Hand, David Phelps, A.J. Ramos, Mike Dunn, Bryan Morris, Steve Cishek, and Sam Dyson. If Crow was healthy during the final week of the spring, he may have earned a spot on the roster in Dyson's place.
While upgrading their major league roster, the Marlins ensured they would receive bullpen depth some in of the deals they made. Claiborne was acquired from the Yankees in the Martin Prado deal, and although he is not out for the season, could be sidelined for at least the first month with a shoulder injury.
The Marlins are relying on their rotation to pitch deep into games, and a veteran staff should be able to do so consistently. Henderson Alvarez was productive in seven innings on Monday, however Mat Latos exited after recording just a pair of outs on Tuesday night. Miami's bullpen is expected to be productive this season, but the club lost a bit of depth with Crow official out for the year.
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