Miami Marlins ace pitcher Sandy Alcantara announced on Friday that he underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2024 season. The 28-year-old right-hander, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2022, posted a statement on his social media channels expressing his sadness and gratitude to the fans and the team.
Alcantara’s Injury and Diagnosis
Alcantara started feeling discomfort in his right arm during a Sept. 3 outing against the Washington Nationals, in which he pitched eight innings and allowed only one run. He was initially diagnosed with a right forearm flexor strain and placed on the 15-day injured list for the first time in his career with an arm issue.
However, a subsequent MRI revealed a right ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sprain, an injury that often requires Tommy John surgery. The procedure involves replacing the damaged ligament in the elbow with a tendon from another part of the body.
Alcantara tried to avoid surgery and attempted a comeback in late September. He threw two bullpen sessions and made a rehab start with Triple-A Jacksonville on Sept. 21, tossing four scoreless innings on 51 pitches. However, he felt forearm tightness after the outing and shut himself down for the rest of the season.
Alcantara’s Statement and Future
Alcantara shared his statement on Twitter and Instagram, saying that he had the surgery “with a heavy heart” and that he will miss pitching for the Marlins and their fans in 2024. He also thanked Dr. Meister and his team for their care and promised to work hard to return stronger than ever.
“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,” Alcantara wrote. “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.”
The recovery timeline for Tommy John surgery typically ranges from 12 to 14 months, meaning that Alcantara will likely be sidelined until early 2025. He is under team control through 2026 and is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.
Alcantara’s Performance and Impact
Alcantara was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2022, when he led the NL with a 2.23 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, seven complete games and four shutouts. He also struck out 211 batters in 215 innings and won 18 games for the Marlins, earning his first All-Star selection and Cy Young Award.
In 2023, Alcantara was not as dominant but still posted solid numbers. He had a 4.14 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, three complete games and one shutout in 28 starts. He pitched 184 2/3 innings and struck out 151 batters, while going 7-12 for a Marlins team that made the postseason as the second NL wild card.
However, Alcantara was unable to pitch in the playoffs due to his injury and watched from the sidelines as his team was swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Wild Card Series.
His absence will leave a huge hole in the Marlins’ rotation for next season, as he was their undisputed ace and leader. The team will have to rely on young arms like Jesús Luzardo, Eury Pérez, Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett, Trevor Rogers and prospect Max Meyer to fill the void.