Meyer (elbow) exits 2nd MLB start amid slew of Miami injuries

No. 2 prospect to undergo MRI; Cooper (wrist), Anderson (shoulder) also having tests done

July 24th, 2022

PITTSBURGH -- Max Meyer, one of the Marlins’ most promising prospects, left his second career start Saturday with a potentially grim diagnosis, and the injury woes continued through Miami’s 1-0 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.

After throwing his 10th pitch, which allowed Ke’Bryan Hayes to walk on four pitches, Meyer appeared to grimace and then signaled to the Miami dugout with his glove for a trainer. He walked to the dugout after a conversation with the training staff, manager Don Mattingly and catcher Jacob Stallings.

The Marlins announced that he was removed with right elbow discomfort, and Meyer said they will be getting an MRI done.

“I felt it toward the start of that Hayes AB,” Meyer said. “I tried to get through it, but I knew I probably couldn’t get through the rest of the game.”

It’s not the first bout with an arm injury Meyer has faced this season. He was sidelined by ulnar nerve irritation in his pitching arm May 18. But Meyer also has a limited history of injury in his career in recent years; before the nerve issue, he said he hadn’t dealt with anything through his college and pro careers aside from a rolled ankle at Minnesota.

“If I feel any discomfort … I’ve got to be honest with myself and the staff,” Meyer said of taking extra precaution after the nerve issue. “I know I want to get back out there and do what I can, but I think that we need to take care of all the elbow stuff right now so I don’t have to deal with it in the future.”

Meyer, the No. 21 prospect in baseball and the Marlins' No. 2 prospect, was a quick riser in the Marlins’ system after being selected No. 3 overall out of Minnesota in the 2020 Draft. He posted a 2.27 ERA in his first pro season, then earned his trip to the big leagues with 3.72 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 12 starts at Triple-A.

Zach Pop replaced Meyer as the Marlins went with a by-committee strategy to finish the game, with five relievers combining to limit the Bucs to one run over 7 1/3 innings. The team’s workhorse, Sandy Alcantara, will pitch Sunday, and given his track record of going deep into starts, it should provide temporary innings relief.

Meyer’s injury isn’t the only one that the Marlins will have to weather. Garrett Cooper, who just made his first All-Star Game, pinch-hit for Luke Williams in the eighth inning, but he was struck on his right wrist on the second pitch he saw from Wil Crowe. Cooper went to a knee in pain and after being tested in the area by the training staff, he was removed from the game.

His first thought? “Again…”

Cooper has had a run of injuries in his MLB career, including one to his right wrist that required surgery in 2018. It’s unclear just how serious this injury will be, but X-rays showed something in the region, so he’s waiting on a CT scan Sunday morning to understand the severity.

“I don’t really have any words for it right now,” Cooper said. “If it is something big, you take the lumps and you move forward.”

And in the sixth inning, Brian Anderson jammed his left shoulder on a diving attempt to field a ground ball by Cal Mitchell. The Marlins’ third baseman is going to have an MRI done on the shoulder -- the same one that kept him out of action in two separate stints last season.

“He was pretty sore, so we’ll see where that goes,” Mattingly said.

The Marlins will be down quite a few players in the short term at least, pending the results of the imaging on the players injured Saturday. Jazz Chisholm Jr. was diagnosed Friday with a stress fracture in his back that will keep him out likely until September, and speedster Jon Berti went on the IL on July 15 with a left groin strain -- a tough injury for a weapon on the basepaths.

Though the outlook is bleak on the injury front, they’re hoping for the best, especially for a touted young starter just beginning his Major League career.

“We’ve had a string of bad luck,” Cooper said. “Injuries have come upon us lately. For him to come out in his first inning in his second big league start, you feel for someone like that.”