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Phillies place closer Jose Alvarado on the IL with elbow inflammation

The lefty had been lights out for Philly so far this year, with five saves and 24 strikeouts in just 14.1 innings.

Jose Alvarado of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park on May 7, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Red Sox 6-1. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Jose Alvarado was a late scratch from Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays with tightness in his wrist, but both he and the Philadelphia Phillies assured everyone that it was no big deal — it was strictly a precautionary measure, and Alvarado planned to pitch on Wednesday if needed. But the 2023 season is quickly teaching us to assume the worst no matter how minor an arm injury may initially appear, and sure enough:

Alvarado is going on the IL with elbow inflammation. He’s set to have a doctor review his MRI soon, at which point the team should know more about his prognosis. Long known for having big stuff but unpredictable command, Alvarado had been a revelation in the ninth inning for the Phillies this season, notching five saves and a 1.88 ERA with 24 strikeouts in just 14.1 innings — without walking a single batter.

Philly will likely employ something of a by-committee approach to the closer’s role in his absence, as Seranthony Dominguez, Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto have all had ups and downs so far this year. Dominguez will probably get the first crack at the ninth, but it’ll be tenuous at best.