sports 4 days ago

Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider to see Dr. James Andrews for injured elbow

Sun Sentinel — Wells Dusenbury Sun Sentinel

May 15--If you're a professional athlete and have to visit Dr. James Andrews, the news usually isn't good.

Battling elbow inflammation, Drew Steckenrider is hoping to buck that trend. After being placed on the 60-day injured list last week, the Miami Marlins reliever is scheduled to see the renowned orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion.

Steckenrider has been diagnosed with a right flexor strain. The Marlins initially placed the right-hander on the 10-day IL on May 8, only to transfer him to the 60-day injured list three days later. The fear with any pitcher dealing with elbow issues is the potential for Tommy John surgery, which has an estimated recovery time of 12-15 months.

"We're fairly concerned [about his elbow]," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday. "The fact he's getting a second opinion tells you the first opinion wasn't very good. We'll wait and see, but I'd say [we're] concerned."

The 28 year old has struggled to start the season, posting a 6.28 ERA in 14 1/3 innings. While Steckenrider's hit total has been relatively low, he's been dinged by the long ball. Of the nine hits he's allowed this season, six have been home runs. Among National League relievers with a minimum of 10 innings, Steckenrider has the highest HR/9 total at 3.77. His opposing batting average (.173) is 21st best of the 109 eligible relievers.

Steckenrider's last appearance came May 6 in Chicago, tossing one scoreless inning versus the Cubs.

Selected by Miami in the eighth round of the 2012 MLB draft, Steckenrider has spent his entire career in the Marlins organization. In 123 appearances over three seasons, the 6-foot-5 pitcher has accumulated a lifetime 3.72 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and .220 opposing batting average. During that span, he's 6 for 11 in save opportunities.

Steckenrider entered spring training as one of the closer candidates, but has served in a middle reliever role this season. The reliever is arbitration eligible in 2021, meaning he'll still earn the league-minimum salary until then.

Injury notes

-- Miami reliever Julian Fernandez, who's been on the injured list since February, is continuing his throwing program in extended spring training. Claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants, the right-hander is in the tail-end of his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

The 23 year old last pitched in High-A for the Colorado Rockies. According to Baseball America's scouting report, the hard-throwing reliever's fastball averages 98-100 mph and has touched 103.

-- Right-hander Riley Ferrell, who's dealing with biceps tendinitis, threw 1 2/3 in extended spring training Monday. The Marlins are looking for the reliever to start a rehab assignment this week.

Ferrell was acquired this offseason from the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 draft, but has yet to pitch this season. The 25 year old was slated to begin the season in the Marlins bullpen, but suffered tendinitis in the final week of spring training.

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