In a story that will not lead SportsCenter or be the talk of baseball or even get a blurb in your local newspaper, the Phillies on Monday promoted pitcher Henderson Alvarez from Triple-A to the Majors.
You might remember Alvarez as the Marlins right-hander who threw a no-hitter in September 2013, then broke out the following season as an All-Star, posting a 2.65 ERA and finishing 12th in Cy Young voting. Only 24 years old at the time, he appeared to be on the cusp of at least a very solid big-league career, if not stardom.
Since then Alvarez has been for a ride. He started for the Marlins on Opening Day 2015 but made only four starts (with an ugly 6.45 ERA) before landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury that would end his season. That winter, he was non-tendered by Miami in a fairly shocking move, then signed by Oakland for one year, $4.25 million. He threw only 33 innings in 2016, all of them in the minors, before undergoing another shoulder surgery, and by the time he recovered, the best offer he could find came from the independent-league Long Island Ducks, for whom he threw 32 solid innings this summer. The Phillies scooped him up in late August and sent him to Triple-A, where he pitched well enough to earn Monday’s call-up.
After all that, Alvarez is only 27 years old, an age when most pitchers are in their primes. Given that the Phillies have nothing to play for, they’ll likely give the righty a real chance to prove himself against the Major-League hitters he excelled against just three years ago. He may never be the pitcher he was in 2014, but it’s not too late for him to carve out a Major-League career for himself. His fall was swift and dramatic. Maybe his rise can be as well.