October 10, 1997 in Sports

Torn Rotator Cuff Halts Fernandez

Associated Press

When he heard the devastating news Thursday, Florida Marlins right-hander Alex Fernandez cried. He cried not only for his career, suddenly in jeopardy because of a badly torn rotator cuff, but also for the fate of his teammates, who will have to continue their National League Championship Series battle with the Atlanta Braves without their No. 2 pitcher.

Fernandez, a Little Havana legend at 16 who returned home this winter after signing with the Marlins for five years and $35 million, learned Thursday his recent right shoulder pain had mushroomed into an injury that has ended many pitchers’ careers. Surgery will be required.

As Marlins general manager Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland were ruminating over the shock and extent of the injury Thursday at Pro Player Stadium, Fernandez lurched into the room in tears.

“He was shattered. He couldn’t believe it,” Dombrowski said. “He felt he let us down.”

The tear is complete, significantly worse than a typical rotator cuff injury, an MRI by Dr. John Uribe revealed. Not only is Fernandez out for the rest of the playoffs, he probably won’t pitch in 1998, and isn’t definite to return in time for opening day 1999.

Jones rebounds from Game 1 blunder

Things are looking better for Atlanta’s Chipper Jones after he began the NLCS in a most embarrassing manner.

Jones has homered in each of the first two games against the Florida Marlins, raising his postseason average to .471. He’s also shown remarkable resiliency.

After allowing a grounder to slip under his glove for a three-run double in the first inning of Game 1, Jones felt he was personally responsible for the 5-3 loss.

So in the second game, the switch-hitter went 3 for 5, drove in three runs, scored twice and fielded his position flawlessly as the Braves rolled to a 7-1 victory, evening the best-of-7 series.

“I made some good defensive plays and that made me feel at ease,” Jones said. “When you play good defense, that lets you relax on offense. I felt bad about (Tuesday) night because if I keep the ball in front of me, I felt we would have won.”

Alou vows to play in Game 3

Florida left fielder Moises Alou defiantly said he would play tonight in Game 3 of the NLCS. But his body betrayed his words.

As he tried to run his left arm through his long-sleeve shirt, he winced from the pain in his wrist, which he jammed in Game 1. Alou is hurting, and if Alou is hurting the Marlins are hurting.

Manager Jim Leyland said he could not say if Alou would be able to return to the lineup.

“I really don’t know,” Leyland said. “He took some X-rays, and they were negative. We hope he’ll be ready, but I can’t answer it at this time.”

Lemke hopes to return soon

Mark Lemke, a fixture at second base for Atlanta in postseason play throughout the 1990s, may still get a chance to participate this year.

Lemke has been sidelined since tearing ligaments in his right ankle Aug. 20.

Lemke traveled to Orlando on Wednesday night to play in the Florida Instructional League, and hopes to report back to the Braves in Miami for Game 3 tonight.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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