The Phillies are set to promote right-handed starter Henderson Alvarez to the major-league level, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The Phillies have an open spot on the 40-man roster, so the organization will not need to make a corresponding roster move.
It’s been a complicated road back to the majors for Alvarez, who last appeared at the MLB level with the Marlins in 2015. His season was cut short that year due to right shoulder surgery in July, and the Marlins non-tendered him in the offseason. The Athletics signed him to a major-league deal in that December, but he never made the major-league club and ended up back on the disabled list, ultimately undergoing a second shoulder surgery in September of 2016.
After being unable to find a major-league deal for the 2017 season, he decided to showcase his talents by pitching for the Long Island Ducks in independent ball. The Phillies elected to sign him to a minor-league contract, assigning him to Triple-A LeHigh Valley to pitch for the Iron Pigs. It’s unclear when he will pitch for the Phillies, but with Mark Leiter Jr., Jake Thompson and Nick Pivetta struggling of late, it seems likely that he will get a chance to start at some point before the season is over.
Alvarez’s greatest success came with the Marlins between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. During that time, he pitched to a sparkling 2.98 ERA with a 3.71 xFIP and 53.7% ground ball rate across 289 2/3 innings. He etched his place in history on September 29th, 2013 when he threw a no-hitter against the Tigers. Alvarez even made the NL All-Star team in 2014.
Alvarez will fall short of the service time required to be a free agent, so if he pitches well, the Phillies will be able to retain him for another year through arbitration.