Cabrera's MRI reveals right shoulder impingement

March 12th, 2024

JUPITER, Fla. -- 's MRI revealed a right shoulder impingement, Marlins manager Skip Schumaker announced on Tuesday.

"Those things are day to day," Schumaker said. "It's nothing that was bigger than that, which is obviously good news."

So what's the next course of action for Cabrera?

"Great question," Schumaker said. "He's getting evaluated right now after the MRI, and doctors and treatment, and then go from there. Whether it's treatment, injection, whatever it is, we'll go from there, and I'll update you once I hear back."

Cabrera underwent an MRI on Monday after being taken out as a precaution with right shoulder tightness prior to Sunday afternoon’s 12-8 loss to the Cardinals in a Grapefruit League split-squad game at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

Cabrera, who was scheduled for his third spring start, had just completed his pregame warmups when Schumaker, pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr., a member of the training staff and the infield convened on the mound.

The 25-year-old Cabrera was sidelined for a month of the 2023 season with the same diagnosis, but on Sunday he said the tightness wasn’t “even close to what I felt last year.”

“When I was in the bullpen, I was feeling it tighten up a little bit,” Cabrera said via interpreter Will Nadal. “Right there, I felt something, so then when I went out there, it still felt tight. But I've already come in here, I've been in the training room. I did a couple of exercises, treatment, and I'm already starting to feel better.

"So hopefully I'll be out there as soon as possible.”

Added catcher Christian Bethancourt on Sunday: “His body language was like there was something he was feeling. Obviously, he was trying to see if he could've gone through his outing. I talked to him like, ‘That's not the smart thing right now. We have still seven months of baseball,’ and we need him and we need him healthy."

Through his first two starts, Cabrera had gone five scoreless innings, scattering six hits with five strikeouts and no walks. That final number is significant because Cabrera was demoted to Triple-A Jacksonville on Aug. 1 due to an inability to throw strikes. His BB/9 rate (6.08) at the time was the second highest in the Majors (min. 60 innings).

Miami is already without ace Sandy Alcantara (Tommy John surgery rehab) and left-hander Braxton Garrett, who is behind in his throwing progression because he dealt with general left shoulder soreness earlier in camp. A healthy and efficient Cabrera would be greatly appreciated.

Should Cabrera be sidelined, that leaves the Marlins with the following 40-man starting-pitching options still in big league camp: southpaws Jesús Luzardo, A.J. Puk, Trevor Rogers and Ryan Weathers, who went five scoreless innings in a 3-0 split-squad win over the Astros in West Palm Beach. Also in the mix are righties Eury Pérez, George Soriano, Bryan Hoeing and Max Meyer, ranked as the club's No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Non-roster invitees still in big league camp include right-handers Vladimir Gutierrez and Yonny Chirinos, as well as lefty Devin Smeltzer, who took over for Cabrera and gave up two runs across two-plus frames.

“Well, it's being tested, so we'll see what happens,” Schumaker said of the organizational depth on Sunday. “I think Ryan [Weathers] had a good outing. So that's why you have multiple starters. We've said that all along that you don't have five starters the whole year.”

If president of baseball operations Peter Bendix would like to look externally, the free-agent market still includes right-handers Michael Lorenzen, Zack Greinke and Mike Clevinger, plus marquee lefties Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery. The issue there lies in building them up in time for the Opening Day roster.

One reason why adding to the organizational depth couldn’t hurt is because of several factors: How might Miami make up for Alcantara’s lost workload? The most frames Puk has thrown in a professional season is 125 in 2017 between the High-A and Double-A levels, so that’s something to take into consideration if he makes the Opening Day rotation.

Garrett and Cabrera have dealt with shoulder issues this spring, and Rogers is returning from an injury-riddled 2023.