The Miami Marlins could have a huge piece of their starting rotation back for the end of the regular season, as reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara will make a rehab start for the Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Thursday.
“Sandy Alcantara will start tonight for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. The Jumbo Shrimp are in Nashville,” wrote Marlins beat reporter Kevin Barral.
The Marlins are currently in the thick of the NL wildcard race; they currently sit just a half-game back of the Chicago Cubs for the final berth.
Alcantara is currently on the injured list due to a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, an ailment that usually requires Tommy John surgery. But the 28-year-old has made it clear he hopes to return to the team this season, and it looks like that is the plan that has been set in place.
After throwing two full bullpen sessions in the last week and a half, Alcantara told reporters earlier this week that he would hopefully be back for the team's playoff push, although no exact timeline was given at that point.
“I just have to trust the process,” Alcantara said on Monday. “I feel good. I can pitch this year, hopefully.”
His bullpen session on Monday hit 20 pitches, but his last start in the majors was back on Sept. 3 when he spun an eight-inning gem against the Washington Nationals.
The Dominican Republic native was the unanimous NL Cy Young winner after an incredible 2022 season; he put up a sparkling 2.28 ERA while leading the league in innings pitched and compete games.
It's been a down year for the superstar in 2023; before the injury, Alcantara was 7-12 with a 4.14 ERA over 184.2 innings and 28 starts. Still, the team is undoubtably better with him on it, and it will be intriguing to see if he will be activated and start for his team down the stretch.
Thursday's Triple-A start for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp should give some clarity as to whether Sandy Alcantara will be an option for the Miami Marlins in one of their crucial last nine games of the regular season.