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‘Very disappointed’: Miami Marlins’ Eury Perez talks Tommy John surgery, road ahead

Eury Perez has tried to stay upbeat. That’s just the demeanor of the Miami Marlins’ 20-year-old right-handed pitcher.

But he was quick to admit the past few days have been frustrating.

And he knows the year ahead will be more of the same.

Perez is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on Monday after feeling elbow discomfort during a bullpen session earlier this week. The operation, which will be performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Texas, will be a hybrid surgery of UCL reconstruction with a brace — the same surgery Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara underwent in October.

The decision came after Perez made a second visit to Meister on Thursday, about two weeks following his initial visit after first experiencing elbow discomfort during spring training.

Perez’s initial diagnosis was mild elbow inflammation. Surgery was not recommended at that point. He began playing catch shortly after that diagnosis but felt more elbow discomfort a few pitches into a bullpen session on Tuesday. That prompted the second meeting with Meister and, subsequently, the decision to get surgery.

It’s a setback for Perez, who turns 21 on April 15 and had a 6-5 record and 3.15 ERA in 19 starts through 91 1/3 innings last season while striking out 108 batters, walking just 31 and holding opponents to a .214 batting average against.

Perez on Saturday spoke for the first time since the news about his impending surgery was announced.

Here is everything Perez had to say.

On his reaction to the news that he has to undergo surgery: “Very disappointed. This was supposed to be my first season starting with the team and I was hoping to help the team in any way I can. And now I feel terrible, knowing the outcome of everything and that I’m not gonna be able to help the team.”

On how much he’ll lean on Sandy Alcantara during the rehab process: “A lot. He’s been with me through everything and every bullpen. He was the first person who pulled me aside and told me ‘I’m gonna be here with you. We’re gonna go through this together.’”

On the roller coaster of emotions over the past two weeks after initially being told he wouldn’t need surgery: “It wasn’t easy. We were trying to go through a different progress, trying to go through the pain and therapy. When I did my bullpen, I was trying to throw harder, push it and I was feeling some discomfort and some pain mostly with my changeup. I need to extend my arm a little more, but yeah, it was very disappointing and very difficult to go through that.”

On if the doctors had any inkling as to why the injury occurred: “No. He saw that there was something, an anomaly on the MRI that he showed me. He told me that we needed to fix it and that it’s something that not all the pitchers can pitch with and that we got to fix it.”

On what his goals were heading into the season: “It was hard because I felt like I came in into spring with with a lot of strength. My velocity was really high. Secondary pitches were working really good. I was is looking forward to probably get 200 strikeouts and just finishing the with the team really strong towards the end of the season.”

On how he and Alcantara are adapting to supporting the team from the dugout: “Yeah, it’s like that. We won’t be able to help from the mound, but shortly we’re going to be helping from the dugout. We’re going to be out there supporting our teammates cheering for them, and constantly telling them that everything’s gonna be OK.”