Luzardo goes on IL with left elbow tightness

April 26th, 2024

MIAMI -- Although the season is still under a month old, the pitching injuries continue to pile up for the Marlins.

Left-hander , who was scratched from his start on Friday night against the Nationals, was placed on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to Tuesday) with left elbow tightness. Right-hander Anthony Maldonado started the series opener in Luzardo's place, making his big league debut. Miami's No. 18 prospect has a 2.31 ERA with two saves in eight relief appearances for Triple-A Jacksonville this season.

Speaking inside the home clubhouse at loanDepot park, Luzardo explained that he felt "abnormally stiff" after playing catch the day before his start. Feeling better on Friday, Luzardo was optimistic while awaiting his test results.

"I feel like there's always a level of concern, especially as a pitcher when it's the shoulder, when it's the elbow, but like I said, it's nothing that I'm too too worried about," Luzardo said. "I think it's just a little stiffness. Hopefully just get to relax, miss a start or two, and then --wishful thinking -- get back to throwing in a couple of days."

The 26-year-old Luzardo has a history of elbow trouble, undergoing Tommy John surgery on March 16, 2016, by Dr. James Andrews during his senior year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. That didn't deter the Nationals from selecting him in the third round of that summer's MLB Draft.

Luzardo was healthy for an entire big league season for the first time in 2023, setting a career high for innings (178 2/3), after being sidelined for more than two months with a left forearm strain in '22.

"I know two years ago I felt some elbow discomfort, but this was just a little different," Luzardo said. "I feel like this was more precautionary, and hopefully that's all it is and 15 days and that's about it."

Miami's 2024 Opening Day starter, Luzardo is 0-2 with a 6.58 ERA, striking out 27 over 26 innings in five outings. His last time out against the Cubs, he recorded a quality start, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks over six frames on a season-high 104 pitches.

Luzardo becomes the latest Marlin to be sidelined, making the pitching situation even more precarious.

Right-handers Sandy Alcantara and Eury Pérez are rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, while left-hander Braxton Garrett (left shoulder impingement) resumed his rehab assignment on Friday with Triple-A Jacksonville after experiencing “dead arm” during a bullpen session last week. Like Alcantara, Pérez and Garrett, righty Edward Cabrera also began the season on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement. He has made two starts since being reinstated from the IL. Miami placed southpaw A.J. Puk, who made the Opening Day rotation, on the IL with left shoulder fatigue on Saturday and plans to place him back in the bullpen for health reasons when he is ready to return.

This leaves the Marlins with just three healthy starting pitchers -- left-handers Ryan Weathers and Trevor Rogers as well as right-hander Edward Cabrera -- on the active roster to begin a stretch of 13 consecutive days with a game. The club has yet to decide how to fill those other two spots. Options on the 40-man roster include Sixto Sánchez, who opened Wednesday's game, righty Roddery Muñoz, who impressed in his Major League debut last Saturday, and right-hander Darren McCaughan.

"That's a good question," manager Skip Schumaker said. "I got the call a little bit late last night, so obviously, I'm not going to guess who that would have been, but I'm sure you could have an idea of who that might have been. We're trying to think about who that'd be length-wise. We already had [Kyle] Tyler here, length-wise, so the next turn, we'll have those conversations whether it's one or two of the starters down there, whether we go Sixto. Brax had a nice day today [on his rehab assignment]. There's a number of different scenarios that we have to walk through."