Miami Marlins: Two no-nos, comebacks for ex-Fish Alvarez, Volquez

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: Henderson Alvarez #37 of the Miami Marlins pitches during an MLB game against the Detroit Tigers at Marlins Park on September 29, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Alvarez pitched a no-hitter on a walk-off wild pitch. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 29: Henderson Alvarez #37 of the Miami Marlins pitches during an MLB game against the Detroit Tigers at Marlins Park on September 29, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Alvarez pitched a no-hitter on a walk-off wild pitch. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Henderson Alvarez, a forgotten Miami Marlins All-Star.

The above photo from 2014 was supposed to become a regular sight in July for Miami Marlins fans. Unfortunately for the club and for Henderson Alvarez, that was not to be the case.

Instead, after a brilliant Opening Day start against the Atlanta Braves the next season, things went rapidly downhill. The dreaded elbow and shoulder soreness reports cropped up, and Alvarez managed only 15 more innings that season before surgery shut him down for good that July. By that point, two things had happened that sort of caused Alvarez to be lost in the shuffle.

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For one, the Alvarez injury was the first bump in the catastrophic train wreck that was the Marlins 2015 season. By the time Alvarez went under the knife, Giancarlo Stanton was out for the year and manager Mike Redmond had been replaced by a guy who hadn’t coached baseball above the high school level. The sky-high expectations 2015 had started with had crashed back down to earth with a resounding, but familiar, thud for winning starved Marlins fans.

Except for the fact that Jose Fernandez had finally returned from Tommy John surgery. Already pushing Stanton for face of the franchise status, his successful return to the mound made it official. With Fernandez back at the top of the rotation, Alvarez became somewhat forgettable.

Which had been the case since 2013. Alvarez was arguably the best story on the team, other than Fernandez’s Rookie of the Year campaign. However, it would be Alvarez that would turn in that season’s best, and weirdest, start. In the very last game of Miami’s third-worst season ever, Alvarez pitched Miami’s fifth no-hitter…which became official while he was standing in the on-deck circle. That’s right- tied 0-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Alvarez had a bat in his hands as the game ended.

The 2014 season was all Alvarez though. With Fernandez on the shelf, Alvarez was the staff ace for a Miami Marlins team that flirted with .500 all season long and made the All-Star team. By all indications, the Marlins had a fearsome 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation- or at least would by the time of the next All-Star Game.

As it turned out, he would just make four more starts in his Marlins career, and seven in the majors to this point.

Now? Alvarez just announced this week that he’s making yet another comeback attempt, this time in independent ball. He has made sporadic appearances in the Mexican leagues the last couple of seasons but is yet to impress enough to get another big league chance. If anything, he has become an unfortunate example of how not every pitcher can come back successfully from major surgery. Fingers crossed Alvarez can make the most of this chance- in a season like this one, a few promising starts might be just enough to warrant one of those precious 60-man player pool spots.

But what of the hurler behind Miami’s most recent no-hitter?