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Steckenrider (elbow) facing prolonged absence

@JoeFrisaro
May 14, 2019

MIAMI -- There were no visible signs that anything was wrong with Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider. His average four-seam fastball velocity, according to Statcast, is 94.7 mph, up slightly from 94.6 mph a year ago. But the 28-year-old setup reliever experienced some tightness in his throwing arm on May 6

MIAMI -- There were no visible signs that anything was wrong with Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider. His average four-seam fastball velocity, according to Statcast, is 94.7 mph, up slightly from 94.6 mph a year ago.

But the 28-year-old setup reliever experienced some tightness in his throwing arm on May 6 at the Cubs, and he went on the injured list with right elbow inflammation two days later. Steckenrider is getting a second opinion from orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

The Marlins are now calling Steckenrider’s injury a right flexor strain.

Whether surgery is recommended or not, the Marlins anticipate being without Steckenrider for an extended period of time, which is why he was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Saturday.

“I think he was throwing the ball really good, and I think he felt good, too,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Even the day that it happened, he felt fine. He just felt some tightness in there. We’ll end up seeing what happens.”

Last week in Miami, Steckenrider was examined by the Marlins’ medical director, Dr. Lee Kaplan.

Steckenrider has thrown 14 1/3 innings this year and is 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA, 14 strikeouts and five walks. He has allowed nine hits, but six have been home runs.

With Steckenrider on the IL, right-handers Nick Anderson and Tayron Guerrero will be asked to throw more high-leverage innings late in games, setting up closer Sergio Romo.

Honorary bat girl
Thanks to an MLB initiative, Dr. Reshma Mahtani celebrated Mother’s Day twice.

Before the Marlins faced the Rays on Tuesday night, Mahtani was honored as Miami’s honorary bat girl.

As part of MLB’s Mother’s Day initiative, teams that were on the road on Sunday celebrate the occasion when they return home. For the Marlins, it was Tuesday in the series opener against the Rays at Marlins Park. They were at the Mets on Sunday, but the game was rained out.

“Baseball is the all-American pastime,” Mahtani said. “It’s really such a great honor."

Last week, MLB announced the 2019 Honorary Bat Girls for each team, and the league continued its initiative of “Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer.”

Mahtani was honored pregame and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. She also received a personalized pink Marlins jersey and a personalized pink Louisville Slugger bat.

“I understand this is a league-wide initiative to honor someone who champions the cause of breast cancer and breast cancer research,” she said. “So, I’m really feeling very honored and grateful to be chosen in this role. I’m excited.”

Mahtani is an associate professor of medicine at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System. She has devoted her career to the treatment of breast cancer patients, and she has served as principal investigator on multiple clinical trials. Mahtani also serves as director of community outreach and co-director of the women’s center in Deerfield Beach.

“I think the major thing that we all hope for is a cure,” Mahtani said. “A cure is going to come with a lot of time, effort and money spent in research. At the Sylvester Cancer Center, we’re very focused on research because we understand that’s the step forward that we need to take to improve outcomes.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but Mahtani likes the fact that MLB recognizes the cause in May.

“During the month of October, we see a lot of pink initiatives, and this is a different time of the year,” she said. “But I really prefer it this way because, come October, everybody knows about breast cancer awareness. But this is a fight that these women are fighting all year round. We really need to put the emphasis on breast cancer awareness and breast cancer research all year round, and not just in October.”

Worth noting
Top prospect Sixto Sanchez, the prize in the trade that sent catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies, made his Double-A debut on Tuesday night, and the hard-throwing right-hander was a hit. The 20-year-old fanned seven and allowed one hit with two walks over six scoreless innings. But Double-A Jacksonville lost 2-1 to Biloxi in 10 innings. Sanchez had made two starts at Class A Advanced Jupiter.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.