MIAMI — Before Saturday’s contest, defending Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara met with the local media to confirm what we all feared: He has thrown his last pitch of the 2023 season.
After his start in Washington on September 3, Alcantara initially felt arm discomfort and was placed on the injured list three days later with a right forearm strain. He was later diagnosed with a UCL sprain in his throwing arm. This was the first time in his Marlins career that Alcantara has landed on the IL with an arm injury. He missed time in 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19 and missed one start in 2023 with biceps tendinitis.
“Very frustrating for me, as someone who likes to compete. I feel sorry for the fans, my family, my son, my friends, I feel sad because I know I won’t be able to be out there this year.”
With just eight games remaining for the playoff-hopeful Marlins, Sandy was attempting to pitch through the injury and help his team make the postseason, something they haven’t done in a normal year since 2003. As of Saturday morning, the Marlins are 79-75, one GB of the third and final Wild Card spot. “That’s the thing that broke my heart; I mean, to be unable to go out there with my teammates and compete. I just have to keep supporting them in here, out there, inside, everywhere they are. So hopefully, we make the playoffs this year without me,” said Alcantara.
Alcantara made a rehab start for Triple-A Jacksonville on Wednesday and went four innings, allowed only one hit, and struck out four. He told the media on Saturday that he started to feel tightness in his forearm after his third inning of work.
Regarding possible next steps for Miami’s ace, that is still unknown. “Going to get together with my agent, Kim [Ng], and Skip and see what decision we will make. We have to have a conversation, I don’t know if we have to decide about surgery or not, so we just have to get together, I don’t know when.”
After some struggles to begin the 2023 season, Alcantara really found a groove in the second half, pitching to a 3.20 ERA in 70 IP. Overall, Sandy finished the year 7-12 with a 4.14 ERA in 184.2 IP. He fell just short of completing 200 innings for the third consecutive season. He is also tied for the league lead in complete games with three.
While not as magnificent as in his 2022 Cy Young season, Alcantara was still a precious piece for Miami’s rotation in 2023, which has dealt with several injuries throughout the season. The Marlins will depend heavily on Jesús Luzardo, Edward Cabrera, and Braxton Garrett for the duration of the regular season and perhaps the postseason should they make it.