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Henderson Alvarez leaves Wednesday's game with elbow stiffness

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Marlins could be down another starting pitcher.

Henderson Alvarez, who tossed a no-hitter to end the 2013 season and was slotted as the team's No. 3 starter behind Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi, was taken out after five shutout innings Wednesday because of stiffness in his right elbow. The Marlins say Alvarez was removed for precautionary reasons.

Alvarez had been pitching well, allowing only five hits and striking out two. He made three good defensive plays on hard come backers to the mound and didn't show any symptoms of discomfort while he was pitching. He threw 62 pitches and 43 went for strikes.

Considering Fernandez is already lost for the season this could potentially be another crushing blow for the Marlins if Alvarez's injury is serious.