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Jose Fernandez earns rave reviews with bullpen session; Christian Yelich out of lineup with knee/shin

Fire drill alarms were sounding inside Marlins Park during batting practice on Thursday, prompting manager Dan Jennings to declare: "It sounds like the emergency room for the starting rotation."

It's been that kind of season.

The Marlins used their 13th different starter, Chris Narveson, on Wednesday. They've only used that many starters twice before, in 2004 and again in 2014. The rotation is such a collective mishmash at the moment that, for the first time in franchise history, it contains four left-handers.

But there was a rare bit of positive news on the pitching front. Jose Fernandez threw his first bullpen session on Thursday, and Jennings said it went extremely well -- so well that Fernandez, who is on the 15-day DL with a biceps strain, could return to the mound for the Marlins within two weeks.

"I think it went something like, wow," Jennings said of Fernandez's 30-pitch session. "I talked to (trainer Sean Cunningham), and he said it was very impressive. He said he's right on track, looks good, jumped out of his hand. So we'll start to build that up now."

Jennings said Fernandez would likely throw one more bullpen, followed by a simulation game, before putting him back on the mound.

"Somewhere early to mid-September is probably a realistic target date," Jennings said of the timetable on Fernandez's return.

Jarred Cosart could also be nearing his return to the rotation. Cosart is scheduled to start Thursday for Single A Jupiter and throw 60-65 pitches.

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Christian Yelich is continuing to deal with discomfort in his bruised right knee, was left out of Thursday's lineup, and didn't take batting practice. Yelich also fouled a ball off his shin and ankle Wednesday, further compounding the problem.

"We knew it was going to be touch and go with it and, to his credit, he jumped back out there for a couple of days," Jennings said of Yelich, who came off the DL on Tuesday. "So now we just need to let the flare go down."

Said Yelich: "It's kind of day-to-day, see how it's going. I don't really know what to say or how to explain it."

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Giancarlo Stanton is expected to face live pitching in batting practice for the first time Monday in Jupiter. He could be back in the lineup for the Marlins by the end of next week.

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The Marlins on Thursday optioned right-handed reliever Scott McGough to Triple A New Orleans and activated right-hander Andre Rienzo from the 15-day DL.

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