Jose Fernandez said he should be back on the mound pitching for the Marlins Saturday against the Washington Nationals.
"I don't know how many pitches or what, but whatever it is I'll be ready for it," said Fernandez, who has been on the disabled list with a right biceps strain since his last start Aug. 7. "I still have to throw my bullpen and make sure everything is fine. But the plan is to pitch Saturday against Washington."
The staff ace threw 75 pitches in a sim game against his teammates at Marlins Park about two hours before Miami was set to open a three-game series against the Brewers.
"Command was there," Fernandez said. "Since the first inning I was all out. I wasn't over throwing. It's always great to be back out on that mound -- especially that mound right there."
Hitting coach Frank Menechino even stepped into the batter's box to face Fernandez Monday, eliciting a few laughs. Fernandez walked Menechino.
"I don't think it was a walk," Fernandez said with a grin. "I think the umpire got confused, he was looking somewhere else. Nah, but it's fun to get your work in. I really didn't care anyone was hitting. I had to get my work in. I treat that like a game."
After making his return from Tommy John surgery July 2, Fernandez made seven starts for the Marlins, going 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA before being yanked after making 76 pitches in five innings against the Braves Aug. 7.
Fernandez is 15-0 with a 1.14 ERA in 24 career starts at Marlins Park. Saturday's game is vital to the Nationals, who entered the day four games behind the New York Mets for first place in the National League East. The Marlins just took two of three from New York over the weekend.
"It means the world, means a lot, not only for my piece of mind, but for our team, finishing the season strong," Fernandez said. "[I'll know] going into next year everything is healthy and I'll be ready to go next year. It's really important to me.
"We're a good team when we're healthy. We just got to try to stay healthy, win some ballgames, finish the year strong, do the best we can."