Jose Fernandez’s attorney says a prior, undetected injury led to his torn UCL


This is  . . . odd. The Miami Herald is reporting that Jose Fernandez’s attorney released a statement on Friday following Fernandez’s Tommy John surgery in which he claimed that a previous injury, not detected by the Marlins, led to Fernandez’s torn UCL and thus his surgery:

Jose Fernandez’s arm injury was precipitated by a chain reaction of events that began when a line drive struck him in the thigh in his next-to-last game, according to the pitcher’s friend and attorney.

That “prompted a completely unanticipated change in delivery which neither the staff nor his coaches could discern,” culminating in a “traumatic” arm injury when Fernandez pitched next on May 9 in San Diego, said his Tampa-based attorney, Ralph Fernandez, in a statement that was released Friday after the pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in Los Angeles.

Clark Spencer of the Herald got quotes from Mike Redmond and other Marlins saying that no one noticed anything wrong with Fernandez’s mechanics and that Fernandez did not complain of any other injuries or discomfort. And that, if he had those things, he should have reported it to someone and the team would have dealt with it. Which, to me anyway, sounds pretty darn reasonable.

But put that aside for a second: why on Earth is a player having his lawyer issue statements like this? Statements containing phrasing that sounds like the sort of language lawyers put in complaints and things. Not that Fernandez is going to sue or anything — some lawyers can’t help themselves and always speak as if they’re drafting complaints — but it’s just really unusual to see this kind of stuff.

The lawyer says he released the statement “in order to reduce speculation.” In doing so, I believe he has achieved the exact opposite result.

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.