Marlins' Sandy Alcantara throws second bullpen session, confident of 2023 return

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara works against a San Diego Padres batter during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

MIAMI (AP) — Injured Miami Marlins ace right-hander Sandy Alcantara feels confident of returning this season after throwing his second bullpen session on Monday.

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined since Sept. 6 because of a right forearm flexor strain. Alcantara felt discomfort while pitching against Washington on Sept. 3.

“Everything was great,” Alcantara said of his approximately 20-pitch session before a series opener against the New York Mets. “I used all my pitches like I would in a game.”

The 28-year-old Alcantara has been one of the most durable starting pitchers in the major leagues the last four years. He led the majors in innings and complete games last season while becoming Miami’s first Cy Young winner.

Before going on the injured list with the first arm-related issue of his big league career, Alcantara had thrown 184 2/3 innings and three complete games, going 7-12 with a 4.14 ERA and 151 strikeouts.

“I just have to trust the process,” Alcantara said. “I feel good. I can pitch this year, hopefully.”

Miami began Monday tied for the final NL wild card.

“I think anything’s possible,” Miami manager Skip Schumaker said of Alcantara’s return. “You can never doubt Sandy and where he’s at. Physically, he feels really good. We take it day by day and we’re not changing our course at all.”