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44 posts from March 2014

March 31, 2014

VIDEO: Fernandez, Redmond on Opening Night win over Rockies

McGehee gets first crack at hitting cleanup behind Stanton; Furcal update

Placido Polanco, Marcell Ozuna, Logan Morrison, Justin Ruggiano, Joe Mahoney, Ed Lucas, Austin Kearns and Greg Dobbs all got a chance to hit cleanup behind Giancarlo Stanton last season.

Casey McGehee will be the first to have those honors this season. Skipper Mike Redmond tabbed the 31-year old third baseman as the team's Opening Night cleanup hitter because he said he wants a right-handed bat to follow Stanton when the team faces a left-handed starting pitcher.

Getting somebody to hit behind Stanton who other teams fear is vital to the Marlins success. According to Fangraphs.com, only the Giants Pablo Sandoval (33.9 percent) saw fewer strikes than Stanton (38.2 percent) among all big league hitters last season.

"I spent a lot of time hitting cleanup behind Prince [Fielder] in Milwaukee," McGehee said. "I've kind of used that as a frame of reference -- just to not get upset or let one at-bat be bigger than the next if they do decide to pitch around him, which I definitely understand. I just want to try to have good at-bats. Whether you get a hit or not, at least make the pitcher work."

The Rockies have another left-hander Brett Anderson scheduled for Tuesday's game, but will send right-hander Jordan Lyles to the mound Wednesday. Left-handed hitting first baseman Garrett Jones will probably slide in behind Stanton in the lineup that night. 

McGehee hit .292 with 28 homers and 93 RBI last season in 144 games for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan Pacific league. The last time McGehee hit cleanup in an MLB game was July 17, 2012 as a member of the Pirates. He's only started and hit cleanup 23 times in his career and is a .218 career hitter with three homers and eight RBI batting fourth.

"He has some experience. He's been through the battles," Redmond said. "The key is to get Giancarlo as many good pitches to hit as he can. You go back to last year when we had Polanco hitting in that spot. I think that's an upgrade for us for sure."


Rafael Furcal appears to be targeting April 14th -- the day the Marlins return from their first road trip -- as the day he hopes to be off the disabled list and back in the Marlins lineup.

Furcal has been battling a tender hamstring since the middle of spring training and the Marlins are being cautious with the 36-year old second baseman, whom they paid $3.5 million to come in and serve as their leadoff hitter despite missing the entire 2013 season following Tommy John surgery. Furcal said he doesn't feel any discomfort when he fields or hits -- just when he tries to "push it" running.

"It's disappointing. I've had a whole year waiting for this moment," said Furcal, who said he will be playing in minor league games over the next couple of weeks. "But there are 100 more something games to go. I want to be healthy. I expect to play the whole year, not be hurt any more when I come back."

Furcal was the first hitter to step in the box in Marlins Park history. He grounded out to short against Josh Johnson in his first at-bat, but finished 3-for-5 that night.

> It will now be possible to know what day of the week it is by the color of the Marlins’ uniforms. Seriously.

Players will be wearing white jersey tops with black caps Monday throughThursday. On Fridays, they’ll be wearing white uniforms and red-orange caps. On Saturdays, it’ll be black uniform tops and black caps with red-orange bills. And on Sundays, they’ll wear red-orange jerseys with black caps.

Got that?

“There was an overwhelming amount of fan support for the red-orange caps last year and we didn’t wear them,” said Marlins president David Samson. “So this year we’re bringing them back.”

Samson said the red-orange caps are the team’s biggest sellers.


> Rockies: 1. Charlie Blackmon CF, 2. Michael Cuddyer RF, 3. Carlos Gonzalez LF, 4. Troy Tulowitzki SS, 5. Justin Morneau 1B, 6. Wilin Rosario C, 7. Nolan Arenado 3B, 8. DJ LeMahieu 2B, 9. Jorge De La Rosa LHP.

> Marlins: 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Jeff Baker 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. Jose Fernandez RHP

March 29, 2014

Derek Jeter to Jose Fernandez: "You can never be satisfied"

TAMPA -- Jose Fernandez received a bit of sage baseball advice during a chance encounter with Derek Jeter on Friday, and the words from the Yankees legend stuck with the Marlins' 21-year-old pitching ace.

"He told me, 'You can never be satisfied,'" Fernandez said. "Sometimes I think you feel like, 'OK, I'm in the big leagues.' And sometimes I think you sit back a little bit (and take things for granted)."

Since Fernandez didn't make the Panama trip with the Marlins when they faced the Yankees, Friday was the first time he had the opportunity to meet the shortstop, who is retiring after this season -- his 20th in the majors. Fernandez -- last year's N.L. Rookie of the Year -- said he approached Jeter -- the 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year -- like a nervous kid.

"I don't want to bother you," Fernandez said he told Jeter. "I asked him for a ball. And he was like, 'Never be satisfied.' Like I said, from what I see, you think you're in the big leagues. You know, you're already on the team. I don't want to get hurt, and you lose that competitiveness. I can't lose that."


Adeiny Hechavarria, who has not played since Monday due to tightness in his groin, was in the starting lineup Saturday for the Marlins' final spring training game. Manager Mike Redmond said he wants to see how Hechavarria looks first before revealing his Opening Night lineup.

With Rafael Furcal headed to the disabled list, Christian Yelich will lead off. Redmond said that means Hechavarria could bat second, followed by Giancarlo Stanton and Jeff Baker, who will be the Opening Day second baseman against Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa.


The Marlins will make a couple of moves on Sunday to make room on their 40-man roster for reserve outfielder Reed Johnson and long reliever Kevin Slowey. One of those openings will be created when outfielder Brian Bogusevic is designated for assignment.


The Marlins are assured of their first winning record in spring training since 2008 when they take an 18-12-2 mark into this afternoon's Grapefruit League finale against the Bronx Bombers at George A. Steinbrenner Field.

The Marlins trail the Tampa Bay Rays by 1 1/2 games in the Grapefruit League Standings, and own a 1/2-game lead over the Pirates and Giants for the best spring record by a National League team.


March 28, 2014

Marlins nearly no-hit Yankees -- again; Tanaka impresses

TAMPA -- Two weeks after the Marlins no-hit the New York Yankees in Panama, they flirted with the feat a second time.

Five Marlins pitchers combined to hold the Bronx Bombers hitless through seven innings before Kelly Johnson spoiled the bid with a leadoff double in the eighth off Steve Cishek. The Yankees ended up prevailing, 3-0.

It hasn't been the crispest of springs for Cishek, who has given up eight runs (six earned) on 13 hits in only 10 innings. He's also walked four while striking out seven. Cishek gave up two runs in Friday's loss.

"Cishek, it's kind of been a little bit of a struggle for him all spring," said manager Mike Redmond. "But, I'm sure when the lights come on and he's in a save situation, everything will be fine."


The Marlins got their first taste of Masahiro Tanaka, the latest Japanese pitching import, and left impressed. Tanaka went six innings after entering in relief of Hiroki Kuroda, limiting the Marlins to only three hits while striking out 10.

"He's the same guy I remember," said Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee, who was Tanaka's teammate in Japan last year.




Last-minute reprieve spares Solano; Bogusevic in limbo

TAMPA -- Donovan Solano was feeling dejected Thursday morning after being summoned into the manager's office and told he hadn't made the team, that the backup infielder's job was going to Ed Lucas. Seven hours later, after spending the day in his hotel room and working out living arrangements for Triple A New Orleans, Solano received a phone call telling him all plans were off.

Lucas' left hand was broken in the eighth inning of the final spring training game played in Jupiter and, just like that, Solano was back on the roster.

"That was crazy for me, that day," Solano said.

Solano was not euphoric by any means. He said he felt terrible for Lucas who had just won his first-ever Opening Day roster spot, only to have the rug pulled out from beneath him with a poorly-timed injury. It was reminiscent, in a way, of the 2008 injury to Marlins outfielder Alejandro de Aza, who injured his ankle in the final game of spring training when he collided with another outfielder, John Raynor.

"I feel bad for him because it's a bad situation for a teammate," Solano said.

On the other hand, Solano said he was disappointed in not making the team the first time after enjoying a solid spring, one in which he hit .313.

"That's why I felt bad, because I had a good spring, a good approach, Solano said. "I played my best baseball this spring. That's why I felt bad. I didn't expect that (the demotion)."

Manager Mike Redmond said Lucas would likely be out four to six weeks so Solano, who was the team's Opening Day second baseman, could be around for a while.

"I feel terrible for Eddie," Redmond said. "He makes his first Opening Day roster and breaks his hand. These last few games are always a little dicey."

Redmond said Lucas was still in Thursday's game when he ws struck by a Scott McGregor pitch because he had already missed time earlier in spring with a hamstring injury and he was trying to get him more at bats before the season-opener.

"It's unfortunate," Redmond said. "But guys just can't take three or four days off before Opening Day. They've got to keep getting their at bats."


Perhaps no player is feeling odder about his situation than outfielder Brian Bogusevic, who was informed on Thursday that he would not be on the team. But Bogusevic was in uniform Friday when the Marlins faced the New York Yankees, as his status remained in limbo.

Since Bogusevic is out of options, the Marlins will be forced to designate him for assignment and expose him to a waiver claim. That is, unless another another outfielder sustains an injury over the next couple of days and the Marlins decide to keep him after all.

Bogusevic, who was acquired from the Cubs in the Justin Ruggiano trade, said he hopes he is either claimed by another team or traded.

"I guess there are still things that can happen in the next day or two," Bogusevic said. "Shoot, you saw what happened to Ed Lucas yesterday. No one wants that to happen. But, yeah, I am in limbo."

Bogusevic said the Marlins' decision not to keep him was "somewhat surprising," but acknowledged that he didn't have the best of springs. He hit just .174 with an on-base percentage of just .188.

The longer the Marlins wait to designate Bogusevic, the more it hurts his chances of landing on some other team, he said.

"It's not helping me out," he said.


With Rafael Furcal (hamstring) joining Lucas on the disabled list, Derek Dietrich will likely see most of the playing time at second base, Redmond said.

However, with the Colorado Rockies sending out left-handers Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson the first two games of the season-opening series, Redmond said right-handed hitter Jeff Baker would receive the starting nod at second the first two games.






March 27, 2014

Lucas headed to DL with non-displaced fracture in left hand; Solano being recalled

JUPITER -- Tough break for Ed Lucas.

X-rays have revealed a non-displaced fracture in his left hand and he will be heading to the disabled list according to manager Mike Redmond

Lucas had won a spot on the 25-man roster. Donovan Solano, told earlier today he was heading back to Triple A New Orleans, will be recalled to the roster.

This is his second injury this spring. He strained a quad playing against the Tigers.

But his one really hurts because he was in line to make his first Opening Day roster after spending 10 years in the minors. Lucas was struck in the hand in the eighth inning by a Scott McGregor pitch.

Koehler lands rotation spot; Lucas struck in hand by pitch

JUPITER -- It took all of spring training to decide, but manager Mike Redmond finally annouced on Thursday that Tom Koehler would assume a spot in the starting rotation while Brad Hand will work out of the bullpen.

"Jose (Fernandez) is obviously our main guy," Redmond said. "But for me, the other guys are young guys with arms. I know everybody makes a big deal about where they all fall in line. But, really, after Opening Day, it doesn't really matter."

Fernandez, the Opening Day starter, will be followed in the rotation by Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Koehler.

"Tommy Koehler for me, he pitched great. He earned that spot," Redmond said. "Brad Hand pitched well, also, and gives us another option as a long guy or a situational lefty. We're going to give him some opportunities to see what he can do. He had a nice spring and earned it as well."


Ed Lucas was struck in the hand by a Scott McGregor pitch in Thursday's eighth inning and was taken out for X-rays. But Redmond said early indications are the hand is not broken.

"(Trainers) seemed to think that it was away from the bone, so hopefully we dodged a bullet there," Redmond said.

Marlins 25-man roster almost set; Furcal bound for the DL

JUPITER -- The 25-man roster heading south to Marlins Park for Opening Night is almost set.

The Marlins on Thursday morning informed seven players they won't be making the big league team and will be reassigned to the minors: infielders Donovan Solano, Juan Diaz and Austin Nola, outfielders Jake Marisnick and Matt Angle and right-handed relievers Henry Rodriguez and Chris Hatcher.

Manager Mike Redmond said second baseman Rafael Furcal will begin the season on the disabled list, leaving a spot for Derek Dietrich on the 25-man roster. Furcal, out since March 15th with a strained hamstring, is going to be given a few days off to rest before a final rehab plan is set.

Redmond said it is still undetermined if Dietrich will start at second base on Opening Night. It could be Jeff Baker.

The only other issues left to be resolved before Monday night's opener: who will be the team's other outfielder -- Brian Bogusevic or Marcell Ozuna -- and who will be the fifth starter, left-hander Brad Hand or right-hander Tom Koehler.

Redmond said the team is hopeful it can keep Rodriguez, a non-roster invitee, in the system. 

As for the open outfield job, that probably won't be decided until Sunday night, Redmond said.

Ozuna, who has minor league options left, is hitting .164 this spring with 18 strikeouts. Bogusevic, the player the Marlins acquired in the Justin Ruggiano trade with the Cubs, is out of options. He's hitting .174 with 10 strikeouts this spring.

Marisnick, reassigned to Triple A New Orleans along with Solano, was hitting .432 this spring with five doubles and four stolen bases.

"There's no doubt [Ozuna] hasn't had a great spring," Redmond said. "So that made the decision even tougher. We just felt like Jake needed to go down [to the minors] and continue to play. There's no doubt that this guy is the center fielder of the future for us. Jake has got a lot of weapons. He can do a lot. We just felt he needed to go down there and continue to get some more at-bats. So that day when he comes it's for good and he's out there every single day. That's it. 

"Bogusevic is out of options and so we've talked to him. We'll make our final decision on Sunday when we have to set the roster."

By giving Furcal a few days off, the Marlins will keep the 36-year old eligible to come off the disabled  six games into the regular season (April 6th). But Redmond made it clear the Marlins want Furcal to be right when he returns, so it may be longer especially since Furcal didn't get many at-bats.

"We know this guy is a gamer and a warrior and he wants to be out there," Redmond said. "At the same time too we need him for the long haul. We need him over the course of the season and we need to make sure we're doing the right thing for him and he's doing the right thing for himself and get him healthy and 100 percent so he can play five or six days in a row and not just one or two. That's the important thing for him." 

What do Thursday's move mean? The bullpen is pretty much set with closer Steve Cishek, setup man A.J. Ramos, long reliever Kevin Slowey, right-hander Carlos Marmol and left-handers Mike Dunn and Dan Jennings. Whomever loses the fifth starter's job --  Hand or Koehler -- will also make the team and serve as a long reliever. 

The bench is also set and will feature left-handed pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs, catcher Jeff Mathis, outfielder Reed Johnson and utility man Ed Lucas.

So why Lucas over Solano? "At the end it just comes down Ed Lucas is more versatile," Redmond said.

"He can play first, play the outfield. He's the emergency catcher if we need him. So he can just do a couple of other things. They both had great springs. Solano is a great young infielder that can do a lot of great things. The beauty of it is he's still in our system and still available to us if we need him down the road."

Redmond pointed to a few reasons why the hard-throwing Rodriguez didn't make the team.

"He's been banged up over the last couple of years, only pitched 25 innings the last couple of years," Redmond said. "I think he's a guy who we would love to be able to keep in the system and kind of pitch and get himself back into good throwing condition and get some innings with him. This guy has got an amazing arm. He's throwing 100 miles per hour.

"It's just the things we talked about -- having command. He just hasn't pitched that much for us. The role we see him in having so many young pitchers, we need guys down there that can throw multiple innings. We just don't feel right now he's able to do that. But I hope we're able to keep him in the system and build him up. You never know."


> Marlins (17-11-2): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Jarrod Saltalmacchia C, 6. Derek Dietrich 2B, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Casey McGehee 3B, 9. Brad Hand LHP

> Cardinals (11-12-2): 1. Matt Carpeneter 3B, 2. Jhonny Peralta SS, 3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Allen Craig RF, 5. Matt Adams 1B, 6. Tony Cruz C, 7. Kolten Wong 2B, 8. Peter Bourjos CF, 9. Michael Wacha RHP

March 26, 2014

Dobbs returns, Ozuna having "much better at bats" lately, Furcal still working his way back

LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Greg Dobbs, whom the Marlins will be paying $1.7 million this season to serve as their primary left-handed pinch-hitter, is back in the lineup today after missing two weeks with a strained left quad.

Dobbs hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game since March 11, but had been getting at-bats in minor league games as a designated hitter over the past two days. He's only had 13 Grapefruit League at-bats thus far and is hitting .231 this spring.

Dobbs turns 36 on July 2nd and hit just .228 last season and .208 (10 for 48) as a pinch hitter. Dobbs hit .275 and .285 his first two seasons with the Marlins.

"He understands what he has to do to prepare himself and get himself ready to play," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's been a while since he's played in a regular game. But Dobber knows how to hit. So I'm not too worried about him."

> Redmond said the Marlins will officially announce the rest of the starting rotation (only Jose Fernandez's start on Opening Night has been declared) after left-hander Brad Hand pitches in Thursday's game against the Cardinals in Jupiter. At this point it would be very surprising if the rotation after Fernandez wasn't Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler.

> It's looking more and more like Marcell Ozuna might be the Marlins' Opening Day center fielder after all. Ozuna, hitting just .180 this spring entering Wednesday's game, has been having "much better at bats... over the last week to 10 days," according to Redmond.

Ozuna had the game-winning RBI double in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over the Cardinals and is 4-for-13 (.307) over his last four games with a pair of home runs and four RBI. He's struckout 16 times this spring and walked eight times.

While the Marlins are happy Ozuna has drawn those walks, they also would like to see 23-year old slugger be a little more aggressive and not take fastballs he should be swinging at. 

"Sometimes for young guys spring training can be tough because you're working on stuff too. Not only are guys competing and trying to win spots, but they're also working on their games, trying to tighten up their swings," Redmond said.

"Sometimes it takes a little bit to get going. His at-bats have been much better. We just want to continue to see him be aggressive at the plate. That's the big thing for him."

> Second baseman Rafael Furcal (hamstring) remained in Jupiter Wednesday and played in a minor league game for the third day in a row. Redmond said Furcal was scheduled to play five innings of defense, the first time he's done so since aggravating his hamstring on March 15.

Mike Hill, President of Baseball Operations, said Tuesday the Marlins still hadn't made a decision yet if Furcal will begin the season on the disabled list or not.

"He says its feeling better," Redmond said of Furcal's hamstring."But still at the end of the day, he hasn't played that much. We'll see how he feels after the game today and have a plan of attack going forward the last few days of spring training."

Furcal has only had 18 Grapefruit League at-bats, and if he doesn't play in another spring game he would be eligible to come off the disabled list on April 5th -- after the Marlins' first five regular season games. But Hill said if the Marlins feel Furcal is close to returning they would get him into a Grapefruit League game.

The Marlins play the Cardinals Thursday in Jupiter and then close out the spring with back-to-back games in Tampa against the Yankees.

> Redmond said there's no reason to worry "right now" that shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (groin tightness) might not be ready for Opening Night. "He said he's feeling better," Redmond said. "So we'll see tomorrow how it is, how it's doing. We'll make sure he's feeling good [before putting him in another spring game]."

> Miami’s pitching staff comes into Wednesday's game with the lowest team ERA in the National League this spring at 3.35 (257.2 IP/96 ER), ahead of Pittsburgh (3.57). The staff has recorded a total of 219 strikeouts, second in the NL behind Chicago (230) and fifth overall behind Oakland (228), the Yankees (227) and Cleveland (223). Miami has the best road record among NL clubs, going 10-3 away from Jupiter. The team is also 6-2 in one-run games.

> The Marlins are scheduled to use LHP Mike Dunn, RHP Chris Hatcher, RHP Carlos Marmol and RHP Henry Rodriguez out of the bullpen today. Minor League RHP Justin Jackson is also available. Hatcher has yet to allow a run in nine innings this spring, striking out eight and walking just two in that time. Marmol has gone 5 1/3 innings this spring without allowing a run, and has two strikeouts in three of his five outings.


> Marlins (17-10-2): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Reed Johnson RF, 3. Marcell Ozuna CF, 4. Derek Dietrich 3B, 5. Jeff Baker 2B, 6. Greg Dobbs 1B, 7. Ed Lucas SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Nathan Eovaldi RHP

> Braves (11-17-3): 1. Jason Heyward RF, 2. Tyler Pastornicky 2B, 3. Freddie Freeman 1B, 4. Chris Johnson 3B, 5. Justin Upton LF, 6. Ryan Doumit DH, 7. Evan Gattis C, 8. Andrelton Simmons SS, 9. Jordan Schafer CF, RHP Julio Teheran

March 25, 2014

Reed Johnson talks about making the Marlins' roster; Fernandez struggles in last start

JUPITER -- It won't be officially announced until the Marlins make some corresponding personnel moves, but 37-year old veteran outfielder Reed Johnson has earned a spot on the Opening Day roster.

"I think we've talked about it all spring what he brings to our ballclub," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's a veteran bat of the bench. He understands his role. He's been around for a long time. You don't play that many years as a role player if you're not a great teammate and bring a lot to the table. This guy can still hit. He still has a quick bat, still go out there and help us. He earned it. That's the bottomline."

Johnson, a non-roster invitee, didn't play Tuesday but is hitting .410 this spring. It's the second time in his career he's come into spring training with a minor league contract and made the team, doing the same with the Cubs a couple years back.

"I know Red's seen me play, being in Atlanta and in the East, but I think it was still big for me to come in and hit from start to finish and let them know I still have a lot of gas in the tank, a lot of baseball in me," Johnson said. "The way I was treated here too was really key to me having a successful spring training. I went on some road trips and was able to start a bunch of games. I got as good a look as I possibly could have with some good at-bats."

Much like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rafael Furcal and other veterans the Marlins signed, the organization loves the fact Johnson has playoff experience and is a good clubhouse guy.

"Everything starts with pitching," Johnson said. "That's really what this team was all about last year. What you didn't have last year was that veteran leadership.

"From an offensive standpoint, being able to give guys scouting reports like what can you look for in a pitcher, which side of the plate, inside or outside, just those little things start to develop approaches with younger players. I think hitting is all about approach. There's a lot more hitters in the big leagues that are bigger, stronger, faster than I am. But I feel like my approach is a pretty good approach. If you have a plan at the plate and can relay that to a young player that makes all the difference in the world to those guys. The more you play and more experience you have the better your approach becomes as far as getting quality at-bats. If I can help younger players with that it can make a difference with their at-bats. I think we can only get better, especially the younger guys."


Jose Fernandez's final tune-up before Opening Night turned out to be his roughest start of the spring.

Yanked after throwing 98 pitches (58 for strikes) in only 4 2/3 innings, Fernandez gave up nine hits, five runs (four earned) before the Marlins rallied to beat the Cardinals 6-5 on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium.

"Hopefully six days from now it's going to be better," said Fernandez, who in five starts this spring (20 1/3 innings) posted a 3.54 ERA with 19 strikeouts and eight walks.

"I was trying to throw strikes and I couldn't. That's been a problem the whole spring training. I pray for the season not to be like that."

A year ago at this time Fernandez was in-line to start the season in Double A Jacksonville. Then, Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez went down with shoulder injuries, opening the door for the National League's eventual Rookie of the Year to find a spot in the rotation.

Now 21 and an All-Star, Fernandez is hardly the same quiet kid he was a year ago. He's shown up to camp in purple pants and gold shoes, and recently had a large tattoo of a bicycle gear inked on his lower right leg. He said he'd like to post an ERA under 2.00 this season and has been in-season intense before Grapefruit League starts, saying its been tough to sleep.

Fernandez was visibly upset after Tuesday's start.

"You can tell he was having to really grind it out there and maybe wasn't quite as sharp with his pitches," Redmond said. "I think all pitchers are like that. They get one time a week to go out there and pitch and they want to be perfect. That's the nature of their job. I think that can be tough sometimes. You're not going to be perfect every single time. Some days are going to be better than others. That's when you have to trust your stuff and have a plan to continue to stay focused.

"I know Jose knows how to do that. He's amazing at that for such a young guy. There's going to be battles out there. There are going to be some nights when he doesn't feel great and doesn't have his best command and he's going to have to go out there and give us everything he has."

How does Fernandez envision his emotions being before Opening Night? Not the same as his debut a year ago.

"I think it's going to be maybe more like the game against the Dodgers [and Yasiel Puig] at home," Fernandez said. "I'll try to sleep."

> Rafael Furcal (1-for-6, walk) and Greg Dobbs (1-for-5) both served as designated hitters in a minor league game against the Cardinals Tuesday. Both are trying to come back from injuries.