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Mike Redmond names Jose Fernandez as Opening Day starter

VIERA -- Not that there was ever a question, but manager Mike Redmond on Sunday announced that Jose Fernandez would be his Opening Day starter when the Marlins kick things off March 31 against Colorado at Marlins Park.

That will make Fernandez, 21, the youngest Opening Day starter in Marlins history. Josh Beckett, who was 22 when he was given Opening Day honors in 2003, had held the mark.

Fernandez will be exactly 21 years and 143 days on March 31, making him the youngest pitcher to start an Opening Day game since Felix Hernandez (20 years and 339 days) did so for Seattle in 2007.

Here's a list of the youngest Opening Day starters:

Catfish Hunter, KCA

20-4

04/12/1966 @ Min

Dwight Gooden, NYM

20-144

04/09/1985 vs. StL

Fernando Valenzuela, LA

20-159

04/09/1981 vs. Hou

Bob Feller, Cle

20-169

04/21/1939 vs. Det

Josh Billings, Det

20-197

04/11/1928 vs. StL

Gary Nolan, Cin

20-315

04/07/1969 vs. LA

Felix Hernandez, Sea

20-359

04/02/2007 vs. Oak

Bert Blyleven, Min

21-9

04/15/1972 @ Oak

Jerry Walker, Bal

21-67

04/19/1960 vs. Was

Tom Hall, Min

21-136

04/08/1969 @ KC

Dwight Gooden, NYM

21-143

04/08/1986 @ Pit

Fernandez was 9-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 15 home starts as a rookie.

"This was going to happen, obviously, anyways," Redmond said before the Marlins faced the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. "But I know he's excited about it. When you think about how far he's come in the last year, going from maybe slated to going to Double A to pitching in the big leagues, and winning Rookie of the Year, that's an amazing year. And it just keeps going. Opening Day starter...it's a day he'll remember for the rest of his life."

-- Non-roster reliever Henry Rodriguez arrived in Jupiter and is expected to be on the field with the Marlins for the first time on Monday. Rodriguez was stuck in Venezuela trying to work through visa issues.

-- Redmond said reliever Carlos Marmol returned to Venezuela to take care of visa matters. Redmond said Marmol could be back Monday night in a "best-case scenario," but it could be a day or two after that.

-- Henderson Alvarez, who missed a few days with an infection, is gradually working his way back. Redmond said Alvarez could see his first Grapefruit League action Friday.

-- Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez said he was most impressed with Andrew Heaney's cool demeanor when the top pitching prospect pitched in his first spring training game Saturday. Heaney delivered two scoreless innings. "I thought his poise was real good," Hernandez said. "I was impressed by that. I know he was nervous inside. But he wasn't out of sorts, like I've done this before." Marlins first base coach Perry Hill said he could overhear Cardinals hitters raving about Heaney inside the St. Louis dugout after their at bats. Hill said the Cardinals were impressed with how quickly Heaney's fastball got on them.

-- Today's game is being broadcast on 940-WINZ

TODAY'S LINEUPS:

Marlins: 1. Matt Angle, lf; 2. Donovan Solano, ss; 3. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c; 4. Marcell Ozuna, cf; 5. Jeff Baker, 3b; 6. Derek Dietrich, 2b; 7. Reed Johnson, rf; 8. Greg Dobbs, dh; 9. Ed Lucas, 1b. Pitching: Brad Hand.

Nationals: 1. Jeff Kobernus, 2b; 2. Ian Desmond, ss; 3. Jayson Werth, rf; 4. Ryan Zimmerman, dh; 5. Adam LaRoche, 1b; 6. Wilson Ramos, c; 7. Anthony Rendon, 3b; 8. Scott Hairston, lf; 9. Nate McLouth, cf. Pitching: Doug Fister.

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