Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez was placed on the disabled list at the end of July due to shoulder inflammation, but he ended up missing just two starts and will make his return tonight against the Diamondbacks.
Alvarez ranks fifth in the National League with a 2.48 ERA across 22 starts and leads the majors with three shutouts. While he has only struck out 83 batters in 137 2/3 innings this season, his walk rate (1.77 BB/9) is the best of his career and he owns a ground ball rate of 54.5 percent. The 24-year-old earned his first All-Star nod earlier this summer.
Despite being two games under .500 at 60-62, the Marlins enter play today just four games back in the National League Wild Card race. Having Alvarez back should help keep them in the mix.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.