Marlins ace Jose Fernandez just told Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald that he experienced elbow soreness in his second-to-last start, but continued to pitch through it and then made one more start before being shut down on the way to season-ending Tommy John surgery.
The 21-year-old right-hander explained that he did so “because we were in first place” and then added:
Health and all that stuff comes first for some people. For me, my team comes first. That’s who I am. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing but this is my team and I give my life to my team. That was the right call.
Of course, now he’s unavailable to his team for the remainder of this season and likely part of next season. And he’s put his future in some doubt as well. Who knows if immediately leaving the second-to-last start when he felt a “pinch” would have changed the end result for Fernandez, but trying to pitch through the discomfort certainly didn’t help anything and didn’t do the Marlins any favors either.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.