WASHINGTON -- Though he's not technically a rookie, Matt Harvey is the pitcher that is most often compared to Jose Fernandez -- a young talent with a bright future ahead of him. The Mets' Harvey and the Marlins' Fernandez were even on the All-Star team together in July.
And it's the reason why, when the news broke that Harvey has a torn ulnar collateral ligament that could result in Tommy John surgery and cause him to miss the entire 2014 season, thoughts turned to Fernandez and the Marlins' plans to protect their best arm from a like fate.
This much is certain: the Marlins aren't changing their plans with regard to Fernandez in the aftermath of the Harvey injury. Fernandez will make two -- and perhaps three -- more starts before the Marlins shut him down for the season. The Marlins set a 170-inning limit on the 21-year-old pitcher and are sticking to it. He has already thrown 152 2/3 innings.
"The plan's still the same with that 170-inning mark, right around there," said manager Mike Redmond, adding that there's a better chance Fernandez will make two more starts, as opposed to three, before he is put in storage.
Harvey, unlike Fernandez, pitched collegiately and, at 24 years of age, is older than his counterpart on the Marlins. He totaled 169 1/3 innings last season and has thrown 178 1/3 this season before the injury landed him on the DL.
"Anytime a guy gets hurt you think about all that stuff, their innings limit, and how you use guys," Redmond said. "It's just such a tough thing to predict. I just feel when a guy's going to go, he's going to go. You can sit there and think about how you're best going to protect the player until you're blue in the face. Guys get hurt. It's unfortunate. But it's the way it goes."
Fernandez said he continues to feel "strong" but also understands the Marlins' logic.
Fernandez said he was saddened by the news about Harvey, his division rival and All-Star teammate.
"Stinks," Fernandez said. "He's one of the best pithcers in the game. "When a guy has talent like that -- pretty amazing what he does -- you hate hearing about something like that. For me, it's something that hurts baseball."
The Marlins have moved Chris Coghlan from Jupiter to Triple A New Orleans, where he'll continue to play third base, according to Redmond. The Marlins are expected to call up Coghlan when rosters expand on Sept. 1.