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Oblique strain leads to early exit for Henderson Alvarez

Henderson Alvarez came out of Monday's outing after throwing only 40 pitches due to what the Marlins announced as a left oblique strain. Though Alvarez is listed as "day-to-day," it's important to consider that only 26 games will remain after today and, well, there would seem to be little point in having him attempt a return before season's end.

But we'll learn more details after the game.

While Alvarez zipped through the Mets lineup the first two innings, retiring all six batters he faced, his fastball velocity was down from where it usually sits, and in the third inning he did nothing right. He gave up a leadoff home run to pint-sized Dilson Herrera -- the infielder's first MLB home run -- a couple of hits and a walk. After giving up a 2-run single to David Wright, the Marlins' coaching and training staff paid a visit to the mound and, after conferring with the pitcher, Alvarez took a beeline to the dugout without throwing a single warmup pitch.

Clearly, losing Alvarez is more bad news for the Marlins, who are running on fumes at the moment.

Other than a solid outing against the Diamondbacks on Aug. 16, Alvarez hasn't been himself over his past three starts, including Monday's, since coming off the disabled list from right shoulder inflammation. In the three most recent starts, Alvarez has given up 12 runs on 21 hits -- including five homers -- in a total of 14 2/3 innings (7.36). So the oblique injury is something that could have been bothering him before Monday.

Brad Hand's exile to the bullpen could end up being brief due to any loss of time to Alvarez. Hand took over in relief Monday and could remain in the rotation if Alvarez is out for any length of time, which would seem likely.

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