Henderson Alvarez leaves start with stiff right elbow

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The elbow injury epidemic simply can’t be stopped.

CSNWashington.com’s Mark Zuckerman reports that Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez was removed from his start Wednesday night against the Nationals after experiencing stiffness in his pitching elbow. Alvarez had delivered five scoreless innings against the Nats, lowering his season ERA to 2.97.

The talented 24-year-old is likely headed back to Miami to undergo an elbow exam, and we wouldn’t rule out the involvement of Dr. James Andrews.

Andrew published a position paper Wednesday on the increase of major elbow injuries.

Tommy John surgery has already claimed Jose Fernandez, Matt Moore, Kris Medlen, A.J. Griffin, Martin Perez, Patrick Corbin, Brandon Beachy, Ivan Nova, Josh Johnson, Jameson Taillon, Bobby Parnell, Bruce Rondon, Luke Hochevar, David Hernandez, Cory Gearrin, and Jose Cisnero in 2014.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.