Right-hander Elieser Hernandez was taken out of the Miami vs. Toronto game in the third inning on Tuesday. The issue is a sore right lat muscle, the club announced. He’s considered day to day.
Hernandez had surrendered a run on two hits through his two innings of work, with a walk and a pair of whiffs. Josh A. Smith replaced him on the mound, inheriting a 3-0 count facing Cavan Biggio, who was already 1-for-1 in the game.
Initially a rule 5 draft selection by the Marlins in 2017 from the Houston Astros, Hernandez is in his third full season with Miami. In 2018, he was sidelined first with a tooth infection and later with a blister on the third finger of his pitching hand. He was relatively healthy last season on his way to a 3-5 record and a 5.03 ERA.
Hernandez is 5-12 with a 5.11 ERA over 54 major league appearances with the Marlins, including 22 starts. His obvious talents are showcased by his rising K-rate over his first three seasons. From 45 in 65 2⁄3 frames in 2018 (6.17 K/9) to 85 in 82 1⁄3 innings last year (9.29 K/9) to 34 in 25 2⁄3 innings this year (11.9 K/9).
If Hernandez misses a start in the rotation, it deals a blow to an already overtaxed staff that has seen 11 pitchers make a start through the Marlins first 31 games of the year. Consider also the recent exodus of would-be returning strikeout machine Caleb Smith to the Diamondbacks for Starling Marte.
Veteran right-hander José Ureña is due back soon from the injured list. Other spot start candidates on the 40-man roster include Daniel Castano, Jordan Yamamoto and Robert Dugger.
But this Miami Marlins team has shown a propensity for making lemonade when given lemons. I would expect no different than for an unexpected call-up to make a splash. Braxton Garrett? Max Meyer? This club has proved that nothing is off the table in 2020.