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Marlins still sticking to plan to shut rookie Jose Fernandez down after 150 to 170 innings of work

It's been a dreamy rookie season for 20-year old Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez, one made even sweeter by the All-Star experience he got to share with his mother Maritza in New York earlier this week.

"We actually stayed in the same room, talking until two, three in the morning every night," said Fernandez, who jumped into the ocean five years ago to save his mother during their daring escape from Cuba.

"My mom did a lot shopping with me. I was happy about that."

As good as things have been, Fernandez knows the good times -- at least for this season -- aren't going to last forever. He's well aware the number of starts he has left are numbered and before long he's going to be shut down.

The Marlins, who open the second half of their season Friday night in Milwaukee, have had their 2011 first round pick on an innings count all season. And despite the rookie's first half success, they still plan on shutting him down early to protect his arm.

"What we said was 150 to 170 innings," manager Mike Redmond said Thursday after his team got back together for the first time since the All-Star and held an afternoon practice at Marlins Park. "Obviously we're going to push for closer to 170."

Fernandez, who had never pitched above Single A Jupiter before he surprisingly made the Marlins' Opening Day roster back in April, threw 104 2/3 innings in the first half of the season. Last year, he threw a total of 134 innings.

This season's first half, Fernandez finished 5-5 with a 2.75 ERA, 103 strikeouts and 40 walks. A total of 66 percent of his pitches went for strikes. In all, Fernandez threw 1,617 pitches, an average of nearly 90 pitches a start. The only time he eclipsed 100 pitches was in four of his last six starts.

Redmond said he never thinks about the long term when Fernandez takes the mound.

"I go solely on how he's doing that day," he said. "If he has a chance to win a ballgame or whatever it is and he's going good then we'll let him throw seven or eight innings. I've never gone into a game going we can only let him throw six innings a day. I take it from game to game. If he has a chance to throw a complete game then I'll let him throw a complete game. If he keeps his pitches down and he has a chance he'll go out there."

But protecting Fernandez's young arm is still important to Redmond for the long-term. Fernandez, for his part, would love to pitch the entire season. But he said he has no problem with the Marlins' plans in part because they've been up front since the get-go.

"They know I love to pitch, love to compete. They got a plan and I'm going to follow it 100 percent," Fernandez said. "I have nothing against it. For me, that's all I'm going to do.

"My next start is on Tuesday [in Colorado] and I'm going to go out there and do the best I can until they take me out. The next one after that should be five days after that and I'm going to do the best I can. That's how I'm taking it. I'm not really thinking about innings and stuff like that. They have a plan. They've had it since the season started. So far I think we're doing good. Our plan is working. Just keep it up."

-- MANNY NAVARRO

Comments

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Camera Mike

I still have mixed feelings on innings counts but I do prefer they way Redmond is handling Fernandez compared to what I read last season with Washington's treatment of Strasburg. It seems to me Red is being more open in judging how Fernandez is pitching then Davey Johnson and the National's GM were with just an innings limit. Though I didn't follow Washington too closely last season and if someone knows if they were somewhat flexible and I am mistaken please let me know. Also this year it is well known the Marlins are playing for the future thus have no risk to post season success or failure by shutting down Fernandez before the end of the season.

Hopefully he can pitch closer to 170 than 150 innings as that would probably mean 9 more starts, and if Jose continues the way he has been and Yasiel Puig slows down it could put him into the running for rookie of the year.

To continue the thread of the last posts comments I do think the Marlins can play .500 ball the rest of the way though by no means will that be easy. Of the 69 games remaining this year 42 are against teams currently .500 or above and 15 out of 28 games in September will be against teams that will probably be in post-season contention. So it looks like a tougher second half than the first was. Plus history dictates that as a young team that probably will have a slump during 69 games. Though they are playing dramatically better now then before and seem to believe they can win every game they play and that confidence can go a long way. While I think .500 ball in the second half is possible I think it may be a bit too tough (especially with Fernandez going to miss 3-5 starts due to the innings count) and I'm predicting they go 32-37 in the second half and finish 67-95.

Overall a disappointing record but close to last season's final tally and as much as the trades angered me this roster does look to have a brighter future then last year's. Of course that is dependent on either Loria selling the team or completely changing his ownership style and actually re-signing players and commiting himself to putting a winning team on the field. Between the two I'd say him selling has a better chance of actually occurring and is the one I am hoping for.

hope

the future will only be bright if loria and Samson are gone.

sunnydee

I don't have too much of a problem with it since the Marlins are not in contention for anything. What the Nationals did last year was a disgrace to baseball. You only get a few opportunities to win a World Series. Last year the Nationals decided it was more important to preserve Strasburg (assuming an innings cap on a season has any effect at all over the long term health of a picture) than to win. At the very least, they could have limited his innings during the regular season to preserve him for the post-season. Or they could have moved him to a middle relief role or even closer.

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