Dan Straily, who had been slotted in the No. 2 spot of the 2018 Marlins starting rotation, is suffering from a case of right forearm inflammation. The injury was revealed publicly on Tuesday and he will be shut down from throwing for five or six days.
Although the team doesn’t think the injury is serious, Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill told reporters that the time off could jeopardize Straily being ready for his originally scheduled regular-season debut (Mar. 30 vs. the Cubs).
”We sent him for an MRI, and it showed very mild forearm inflammation,” Hill said. “We just wanted to be proactive.”
Straily underwent the MRI late Monday, and it didn’t show any structural concerns will his elbow.
The veteran right-hander led the Marlins with 33 starts last season, going 10-9 with a 4.26 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. He’s also been their most consistent starter this spring with a 1.29 ERA in four Grapefruit League games.
José Ureña received the Opening Day pitching honors over Straily, but only by the slimmest of margins. “It was basically almost a coin flip,” manager Don Mattingly said at the time.
With Straily’s start now in doubt, it leaves the first turn of the Marlins rotation completely in flux outside of Ureña. A stint on the disabled list seems possible, but Straily could still debut in the third to fifth spots if the inflammation subsides quickly.
Odrisamer Despaigne, Jacob Turner, Justin Nicolino and Caleb Smith are also in the mix for spots on the staff. Promising right-hander Sandy Alcantara had been a strong candidate, but the club optioned him to Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday (likely for service-time manipulation).
”It just emphasizes the fact you can never have enough pitching, in general,” Hill said. “Things inevitably come up. We’re pleased that [Straily] let us know what’s going on, so we can get in front of this, and prevent something worse potentially happening.”
Even if Straily opens the season on the 10-day disabled list, it doesn’t necessarily mean he must miss the first 10 days of 2018. That move would still allow him to return as early the fifth game of the season—against the Red Sox on April 2—because they can select a retroactive date for his injury (beginning Mar. 23).
”We don’t want to speculate at this point,” Hill said about Straily’s regular-season debut. “We want to be smart with him. Obviously, he’s a big part of our rotation. Make sure that he’s OK. He said he’s fine.”