TODAY: After meeting with Dr. ElAttrache, Chen received a good diagnosis and won’t require surgery, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports. While Chen’s elbow ligament is inflamed, it is believed that the PRP injection he already received is the only treatment required for the time being.
TUESDAY, 7:40pm: Chen’s injury status sounds even more ominous with full context from manager Don Mattingly. As Mattingly tells Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, not only will Chen not pitch again in 2017, there’s a possibility that he won’t pitch in 2018, either. “I’m not really sure if he’s going to be able to get back next year,” said Mattingly. “We know [the tear] is there. It keeps coming back, it kind of gets extended a little bit.”
Per Healey, Chen will visit with renowned surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache in the coming days. Certainly, given the known presence of a partial UCL tear, one would imagine that Tommy John surgery will eventually become an option (though some pitchers have managed to pitch through partial tears of the UCL and avoid going under the knife).
6:33pm: Wei-Yin Chen’s season for the Marlins is over as the result of additional concerns about the southpaw’s left elbow, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Chen will have yet another examination on the elbow, and his future is “up in the air,” per Spencer.
Chen, 32, made just five starts for the Marlins earlier this season before missing the majority of the year due to troubles in his left elbow. Chen was reportedly diagnosed with a partial tear of his left ulnar collateral ligament last summer and ultimately pitched just 123 1/3 innings in his first season with the Marlins. This year, he’s been limited even more dramatically, totaling just 33 innings between the rotation and the bullpen.
The difficulties with Chen’s elbow are particularly problematic for a low-payroll Marlins club that signed the southpaw to one of the largest free-agent deals in franchise history. Chen is just two seasons into a five-year, $80MM contract and, while the agreement contains an opt-out clause following the current season, there’s obviously no way that he’ll be forgoing the remaining $52MM he’s owed through 2020 to reenter the open market.
[Related: Miami Marlins depth chart]
With Chen’s future now looking even more uncertain, Miami faces an uphill battle in rounding out its rotation with competitive arms next year. Opening Day starter Edinson Volquez, signed through the 2018 season, underwent the second Tommy John surgery of his career last month and is likely to miss most of, if not all of the 2018 season. The Marlins’ current rotation features Dan Straily, Adam Conley, Jose Urena, rookie Dillon Peters and former Padres/Orioles swingman Odrisamer Despaigne. Miami’s farm system, generally regarded as one of the weakest in the game, offers little in terms of upper-level options to step into a starting role, beyond the aforementioned Peters.