Alcantara to miss 2024 following Tommy John surgery

Marlins' ace announces news on social media 'with a heavy heart'

October 6th, 2023

underwent Tommy John surgery on Friday, the Marlins' ace announced on his social media channels. He will miss the entire 2024 season.

"With a heavy heart, I want to let everyone know I had Tommy John surgery today and will miss next season,” Alcantara said in a statement. “I am most saddened for the great Marlins fans, who were so supportive of me and the team this year. The drive to the playoffs was thrilling for all of us.

"I give this game my all, I give this city my all. And so I promise I will not take a day off as I push to be back better than ever. I will miss pitching, but I plan to be around the team as much as possible. I'm confident that guys like Jesús, Eury, Edward, Garrett and Trevor will hold down the fort while I am there giving my support. Nothing can take away from my love for Miami and the Marlins’ fans.

"I also want to thank Dr. Meister and his team for the great care they gave me today."

The 28-year-old Alcantara, who was shut down on Sept. 23, couldn't pitch during the postseason push or during the National League Wild Card Series against the Phillies. When speaking to reporters on Wednesday after Miami was eliminated, he said a decision had yet to be made in regards to his future.

“I don't know, so let's see," Alcantara said. "Maybe next week. I'm waiting like you guys do."

Initially diagnosed with a right forearm flexor strain, Alcantara was placed on the 15-day injured list for the first time in his career with an arm issue on Sept. 6 after he felt discomfort on his 94th and final pitch on Sept. 3 in Washington. An MRI later revealed a right UCL sprain.

Ten days after that diagnosis, Alcantara threw on flat ground in Milwaukee and then threw two pain-free bullpen sessions before beginning a rehab assignment with Triple-A Jacksonville on Sept. 21. He tossed four scoreless innings on 51 pitches (34 strikes) and maxed out at 98.3 mph, but he shut himself down after experiencing forearm tightness.

Upon his return to Miami, Alcantara said he would get together with his agent Adriel Reyes, Marlins general manager Kim Ng and manager Skip Schumaker to make a decision -- one that could include surgery.

The recovery timeline for Tommy John surgery typically ranges from 12-14 months.

Should the Marlins make no moves over the offseason in regards to their starting pitching, they will enter 2024 with the following 40-man options: left-handers Jesús Luzardo, Braxton Garrett, Ryan Weathers and Trevor Rogers; right-handers Edward Cabrera, Eury Pérez and prospect Max Meyer, who has been rehabbing from the same procedure.

Alcantara, the 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner, wasn't as sharp in '23 but still recorded the 15th-highest FanGraphs WAR among NL pitchers. Until his injury, he led all qualified pitchers with 858 1/3 innings pitched since 2019, including back-to-back 200-plus-frame seasons from '21-22. His 6.66 innings per start over the past three years were the highest by any qualified starter in a three-year span since Corey Kluber averaged 6.74 IP per start from '16-18.

"I feel for Sandy," pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. had said in New York during the final week of the regular season. "I think we all feel for Sandy. I think right up until the end, Sandy never gave in to the fact that there was an issue, and it shows me a lot about his courage, his toughness, the type of teammate that he is. He wants to win and be a part of that. It's been a big hit for us, even though he's had some ups and downs. We know that when Sandy takes the ball, you're going to get seven innings."