Marlins right-hander Elieser Hernandez left last night’s game due to a right quad strain suffered while running the bases. In the sixth inning of Miami’s 5-3 loss to the Pirates yesterday, Hernandez ran home from third base on an RBI grounder from Jesus Aguilar, but Hernandez fell to the ground after crossing the plate and had to be helped off the field.
The injury cut short a strong start (five innings, one ER on three hits, six strikeouts and no walks) for Hernandez, and it was his first outing since a two-month stint on the injured list due to biceps inflammation. Hernandez will undergo some more tests today, but manager Don Mattingly indicated to MLB.com’s Christina De Nicola and other reporters that the righty is probably headed back to the IL.
In a Miami organization with several intriguing arms, Hernandez has already enjoyed some success at the big league level. After a lackluster 5.11 ERA over 148 innings in 2018-19, Hernandez posted a 3.16 ERA and an above-average 32.1% strikeout rate and 4.7% walk rate over six starts and 25 2/3 innings in 2020. Unfortunately, injuries have now curtailed his ability to follow up on that semi-breakout, and Hernandez could now be facing another pretty lengthy absence depending on the severity of his quad strain.
Between Hernandez’s injury and the recent shutdown of Sixto Sanchez’s throwing program, it may yet be a while before the Marlins have their full starting five intact. Trevor Rogers, Sandy Alcantara, and Pablo Lopez have all pitched well, and rookie right-hander Cody Poteet has recently emerged as a viable option for the back end of the rotation. Miami has until Tuesday to figure out who could take Hernandez’s next start, and De Nicola notes that Braxton Garrett and Daniel Castano are possibilities since Jordan Holloway and Nick Neidert are still on the injured list. The Marlins have also used openers on multiple occasions this season, though it remains to be seen if the team would regularly use an opener every fifth day.