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No innings limit yet, but Marlins are being smart with Jose Fernandez, other young starters' workloads

ATLANTA -- With a day off on Thursday and another coming up on Monday, the Marlins had the choice of either going with a four-man rotation this week or starting veteran long-reliever Kevin Slowey in Saturday's open slot against the Mets.

They opted for the latter, a move manager Mike Redmond said Wednesday was all geared toward giving his young rotation an extra day of rest.

"If we can get guys an extra day here it's going to be better for them down the road," Redmond said. "Slowey has pitched well against the Mets. Now we don't rush these guys too much.

"At the end of day, at the end of this year, all these guys are going to be in unchartered territory with all of their innings. It all sounds good at the beginning of the season, but you know how it is at the end of the season. These guys are in unchartered territory. It just made sense to push them back, give them an extra day."

The Marlins haven't discussed putting an innings limit on 21-year old ace Jose Fernandez like they did last year during his National League Rookie of the Year season. But Redmond made it clear the Marlins still have Fernandez's "best interest in mind."

"We showed that last year how we kind of handled him," Redmond said of Fernandez, who was shutdown the second week of September after throwing 172 2/3 innings. "[An innings limit] will be a conversation to have later in the year, end of the year. We'll see how it goes. But we've talked about possibly giving him extra days when we can throughout the year to save him and make sure he's fresh at the end of the year as well."

In Tuesday's masterful 1-0 victory over the Braves, Fernandez matched a career-high with 14 strikeouts and 109 pitches over eight innings. It marked the third time in his career Fernandez had taken a shutout through eight innings, but didn't come out to pitch the ninth.

Redmond reiterated Wednesday he would have let Fernandez pitch the ninth inning on Tuesday had his pitch count after the eighth been closer to 100 pitches. 

"That was the most he's pitched in a game this year, but he was fine," Redmond said. "He really didn't run into [trouble]. His innings were pretty quick, didn't really get into any jams the whole night. I would say those were 109 stress-free pitches.

"Like I said, it just kind of goes from start to start, see how he feels and how effective he is in the zone and how hard he has to work. Sometimes 109 pitches is a max effort for some guys. Sometimes 109 pitches is easy. Last night was an easy 109 pitches. Had he been at around 100 I might have let him go out there to finish the game. We didn't have to make that decision obviously."

Fernandez, by the way, made history again Tuesday. He became the fourth-youngest pitcher since 1900 to record 14-plus strikeouts with no walks in a start, according to Elias. Only Gary Nolan (19 years, 11 days in 1967), Dwight Gooden (19 years, 301 days and 19 years, 306 days in 1984) and Kerry Wood (20 years, 324 days in 1998) were younger than Fernandez when they accomplish the feat.

Within his first 33 starts, Fernandez now has five games of 10-plus strikeouts with one or no walks, the first pitcher to pull off that feat since Mark Prior.

> Redmond said Jacob Turner, on rehab assignment with a right shoulder sprain, will throw 50 to 60 pitches for Single A Jupiter Wednesday night. It's first game action since he strained his shoulder in the batting cages before a game. 

> Infielder Ed Lucas (fractured left hand) still has not begun playing in games, but he is working out in Jupiter.


> Marlins (10-11): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Marcell Ozuna CF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Casey McGehee 3B, 6. Derek Dietrich 2B, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Nathan Eovaldi RHP.

> Braves (13-7): 1. Jason Heyward RF, 2. Andrelton Simmons SS, 3. Freddie Freeman 1B, 4. Chris Johnson 3B, 5. Ryan Doumit LF, 6. Dan Uggla 2B, 7. Jordan Schafer CF, 8. Gerald Laird C, 9. Aaron Harang RHP.