Did Jose Fernandez Cause His Own Injury?

There’s A New Twist In Jose Fernandez’s Tommy John Tale


Major League Baseball suffered a major loss last week when Jose Fernandez went under the knife to repair his torn UCL, and just as all of us are beginning to cope with this we’re finding out there might be more to the story than we first thought.

Late last friday, Jose’s attorney, Ralph Fernandez released the following statement:

“Jose did not have a pre-existing condition. While pitching during the recent Dodgers game in Miami, he was struck by a ball on his rear thigh. This prompted a completely unanticipated change in delivery which neither the staff nor his coaches could discern.

“After the game, we spoke as we always do. Jose was concerned about his arm. Despite many exchanges on the subject in the days that followed, he felt that with the Marlins regaining first place in the division, he could not let his team down. Apparently the injury was worse than he believed. In San Diego in the third inning, he suffered a traumatic event, tossed a couple of more innings and the rest is history.”

First off, it’s not exactly normal for a player’s attorney to get involved in these sorts of situation. Actually, it’s not normal at all and it kind of took everyone by surprise that Fernandez felt the need to speak up on the matter.

His statement didn’t accomplish anything either, as all it did was bring us to question why Fernandez hadn’t said anything to the Marlins coaching or medical staff about him feeling discomfort.

Though, Mike Redmond said he didn’t notice any difference in Jose’s delivery after being hit on the mound, telling reporters, “I don’t think it affected his delivery… He looked the same to me in that game after that.”

But Wait, There’s Another Twist:

The story took yet another turn when Jose participated in a pre-game interview before yesterday’s game, in which he discredited what his attorney had said about him altering his delivery.

While he admitted to having discomfort in his elbow during the Dodgers game, he also said that he hadn’t altered his delivery and that he felt fine after his next bullpen session. Though he went into the San Diego start knowing he wasn’t one hundred percent, he also knew he had to do what was best for his team:

“I know health and all that stuff comes first for some people. For me, my team comes first. That’s who I am.”

Regardless of whether the statement made by Jose’s attorney was actually true or not, we cannot blame Fernandez for putting his body on the line for the team.

While it’s still early in the season, the Marlins were in first place at the time and he didn’t want to let the team down.

Don’t Worry, There’s More:

If that wasn’t enough for you, the story took yet another twist when more of the statement made by Jose’s attorney was released.

In this part of the statement, though, his attorney was bold enough to question whether or not Fernandez actually needed to undergo Tommy John surgery to fix what was wrong.

Ralph Fernandez stated that Jose had received advice against having the surgery from his personal pitching coach, Orlando Chinea – a former pitching coach in Cuba and Japan – who had worked with him since he was 15 years old.

Chinea expressed his opinion that Tommy John was unnecessary, stating that he believed the Marlins were the ones to blame if Fernandez had the surgery.

“I know him perfectly,” Chinea said. “I know his weaknesses. I know the tension he generates in his arm when he pitches. If he has the surgery, I hold the Miami Marlins responsible. That would be like sitting the kid in the electric chair. The kid is 21 years old.”

Chinea also added that even with the severity of Fernandez’s tear, he could have personally rehabilitated him in six to eight weeks without surgery.

Look, who are we to say what is true and what is not, what is right and what is wrong. Either way, Fernandez will be out for the season and all we can hope for is the best for him throughout the rest of his time with the Marlins and in the big leagues.

Make sense of this what you will, but while Fernandez might have caused his own injury by starting the game in San Diego, he also might not have. Nobody knows whether he would have still suffered the injury if he had skipped that start, and we’ll never know.

Matt Stein is a season-credentialed media member covering the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also assisting with coverage of USF Athletics. He attended the University of Tampa and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Sport Management.