It looked to be a promising season for Henderson Alvarez. Being named the Marlins opening day starter and becoming the ace of the staff at least until Jose Fernandez returns from Tommy John Surgery. Unfortunately things don't always go as planned and Alvarez landed on the 15 Day Disabled List and is currently beginning his comeback. While his comeback has no time-table currently, the ace pitcher is scheduled to return very soon. And his comeback could make a serious impact on the Marlins.
Alvarez was placed on the DL after reported shoulder inflammation and pitched six-inning in a rehab start for Single-A Jupiter Hammerheads and looks sharp. The Marlins themselves were impressed with his performance and haven't said when he's expected back but have foreshadowed his return and with the great rehab start things appear to be looking up.
Losing a number one starter is always taxing for a ball club. While David Phelps has held down the fort since being promoted from the bullpen, having Alvarez back will be a huge relief to the starting rotation. Returning an ace is always huge, but the opportunity to return two aces with the return of Jose Fernandez on the rise the Marlins starting staff will be exponentially improved. A rotation featuring two top-end young starters will be a huge plus down the stretch. A rotation featuring Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos, Dan Haren, and Jarred Cosart is good enough to put the Marlins into contender status late in the season.
If Alvarez makes another rehab start, he will most likely make it in Double-A Jacksonville this week. If the Marlins front office decide to bring him back he can potentially start Sunday afternoon against the Braves. It all depends on what the organizational decision is.
Prior to the injury, Henderson posted a 0-2 record and cultivated a 4.50 ERA. While those numbers are not impressive, many of things didn't quite break Alvarez and the Marlins way in those starts and there's plenty of room for improvement. Needless to say, his return will be huge for the Marlins as they try to push above the .500 mark in the coming games.