Chen does not require surgery on elbow

Left-hander will receive PRP shot, should be ready for Spring Training

Chen does not require surgery on elbow

MIAMI -- The Marlins received some encouraging news regarding Wei-Yin Chen, who will not need surgery after being shut down due to a sore left elbow.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache recently examined Chen in Los Angeles, and a Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) shot was recommended.

The Marlins anticipate Chen to be available in 2018, which is a positive considering Tommy John surgery was initially feared.

"Obviously, really good for us that he doesn't need surgery," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said on Saturday.

Chen has inflammation in his throwing elbow, and he has been managing a partial ulnar collateral ligament tear. Even though Chen is expected to be ready next year, questions remain concerning his availability.

The 32-year-old southpaw has made 27 starts in two years, throwing 156 1/3 innings. Elbow issues limited Chen to nine games (five starts) this season, when he went 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA in 33 frames.

It marked the second straight season that Chen has dealt with elbow problems. In 2016, the veteran lefty went 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 22 starts covering 123 1/3 innings.

Chen signed a five-year, $80 million contract before the 2016 season, and he will make $10 million in 2018.

Starting pitching has been the biggest issue for the Marlins in 2017, a year they've had position players turn in some of the greatest individual seasons in franchise history. Giancarlo Stanton is having an MVP-caliber season and Marcell Ozuna was an All-Star, while J.T. Realmuto, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich and Justin Bour were productive.

Chen was being counted on as an anchor in the rotation, but he went on the disabled list with left arm fatigue on May 5. He made four appearances out of the bullpen after being reinstated on Sept. 4, last throwing one inning on Sept. 22 at Arizona. But after that outing, he complained his elbow wasn't feeling right, and he was shut down.

In 2016, Chen went on the DL with a left elbow sprain, forcing him to miss close to two months.

The PRP shot is expected to help alleviate the inflammation in the elbow, and over the next few months, he should be able to start getting ready for Spring Training.

"He will start the throwing process and then move forward," Mattingly said.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.