Marlins ace Jose Fernandez likely a month away from facing hitters

KISSIMMEE -- Jose Fernandez's return from Tommy John surgery hasn't hit any speed bumps yet and if things continue to progress as they have he'll likely begin facing live hitters in about a month.

"There are X amount of bullpens to throw and I think he has like eight left [before he faces live hitters]," Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez said Friday shortly before the Marlins and Astros were rained out.

"We're doing two a week, so that's a month," Hernandez continued. "Once he gets past batting practice and stuff, then you could have road bumps because you've repped up a lot, pounded  [the arm], the intensity goes up. That's why it's not an exact science to it [as far as any exact date when he'll be back with the team]. But we have a general plan, that's big, formulated."

The Marlins have said all along the earliest Fernandez could be back is mid-June. But they're obviously going to be smart. Hernandez said Fernandez has been smart with his rehab to this point.

"Overall, he's doing it well," Hernandez said of Fernandez's rehab. "He's not overdoing it. He's getting to the point, we're getting at that stage of rehab you have to start stressing it and moving it a little bit. It's part of the way it works. The build up to this point he's done it perfectly. I watch him throw and I get amazed because I see how different they come back compared to 15, 20 years ago. Now there's such a success rate the kid's think 'It's fixed, now I'm supposed to throw two miles an hour harder.

"But he's doing great."


September 10, 2008

Hermida gives Tyler Babel the tour

Marlins right fielder Jeremy Hermida was the host and tour guide as he led Tyler Babel through the Marlins’ clubhouse before Wednesday’s Marlins-Phillies game.

Tyler, 6, got the red-carpet treatment from the Marlins players. Luis Gonzalez came over to give him some batting gloves and Dan Uggla and others stopped and joked with the first-grader.

There were some bats and autographed balls, and of course there was the moment when Hermida led Tyler up the steps from the dugout and onto the field at Citizens Bank Park.

“This is awesome,’’ said Tyler, wide-eyed and staggered by being on the big league turf.

Hermida set up the tour for Tyler, who was hit in the face by a foul ball on Aug. 5 that sailed off Hermida’s bat. Tyler suffered three fractures, and spent three days recovering in the hospital.

But Tyler, his older brother Matthew, 8, and mom (Anni) and dad (Matthew) were all smiles Wednesday. They each wore red Phillies T-shirt jerseys with black Marlins caps. The kids wore Ryan Howard jerseys and mom and dad wore Chase Utley jerseys.

“The Marlins are my second favorite team,’’ Tyler said.