A six pack of notes on a Monday night:
### More than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Jose Fernandez said tonight that he is planning to return to the big leagues on Thursday, July 2 at home against San Francisco.
That Marlins-Giants game, a 12:10 p.m. start, wasn't scheduled to be televised but Fox Sports Florida has agree to air it.
Fernandez, who has made two minor league rehab starts, said earlier in the day that he’s strong enough to pitch in the big leagues immediately but wants to work toward being able to throw 100 pitches in a game.
He will throw 80 pitches in his Wednesday start for Triple A New Orleans, then said he would potentially throw 90 to 100 in his next two minor-league starts. So Fernandez appears set to make three more minor-league starts before his Marlins season debut.
“My arm strength is not a question,” he said. “I feel I’m ready. The last start is the start where I turned the corner."
### Yankees starter Alex Rodriguez spoke to about three dozen reporters before playing (or at least initially, not playing) the Marlins in his hometown.
A-Rod, primarily a DH this season, wasn’t in the lineup tonight but voiced no objections to Joe Girardi’s decision.
“I’ll be able to pinch-hit if he needs me to,” A-Rod said.
A-Rod, who entered hitting .268 with 12 homers and 32 RBI, said: “This has been amazing year for me. I know a lot of people gave up on me.”
A-Rod, who rose to fourth on the all-time home run list earlier this year and is now closing in on 3000 hits, said tonight: “These milestones have made me step back and think about my childhood in Miami” and swinging in his backyard.
He declined to say how many more years he wants to play, saying it would be based on his enjoyment and if he’s still productive.
“Even my biggest haters would say I’m disciplined and hard working,” Rodriguez said.
He said he’s eager to see the Marlins’ “great young talent.”
### Add Texas power forward/center Myles Turner to the list of players summoned by the Heat to team headquarters. That means all of the realistic possibilities for the Heat’s pick at No. 10 (a list that runs 5 to 8 deep) have all either been booked for visits, or in the process of booking visits….
Jay Bilas is assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the top 40 prospects on ESPN.com.
Here’s what he said about two of the Heat possibilities, on ESPN’s pay site:
On Arizona small forward Stanley Johnson: “Big, strong and athletic wing who powers his way to the basket and is very good in the open floor. Has been a winner at every level, and is very competitive. Very physical and plays hard, has the ability to be a versatile and effective defender.” But… “ Limited shooter, although improved. Low release point on his shot, and takes time to get it off. Shot a reasonable percentage from 3-point range, but is not a shooter. Very strong, but not explosive athletically. Skill level is good, but must improve. Finishing ability is there, but efficiency needs to improve.”
On Kansas small forward Kelly Oubre: He likes his “size, superior length and athleticism at the wing. Can be an excellent and versatile defender. Athletic and quick, can get to the rim off the dribble. Lefty with a good midrange shot, but inconsistent shooting the ball. Improved toughness and defense throughout the season.” But… his “ballhandling and passing must improve, as should reads and decision-making.”
(We’ll offer more in coming days. And thanks to ESPN’s Insider folks for the info.)…
The Heat, which has the 10th and 40th picks, announced it’s holding a draft party on June 25, with gates opening at 6 p.m. (an hour before the draft) and Erik Spoelstra, Hassan Whiteside and Alonzo Mourning scheduled to appear.
The event is free, but a ticket is required to attend the event. Each person may select up to four tickets, which must be reserved on line at heat.com. A credit card is required to reserve seats, but the credit card will not be charged. Fans must print their tickets prior to arriving at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat's ticket office will not reprint tickets. Tickets on mobile devices will not be accepted for entry. The first 2500 fans will get draft T-shirts.
### South Florida’s ratings for the Warriors-Cavaliers series keep soaring. Game 5 was viewed in 18.1 percent of Dade/Broward homes with TV sets --- compared with 16.9 for Dolphins games last season on average, 16.2 for the UM-FSU football game and 12.3 for this year’s college football championship game.
### Yahoo reported that Charlotte and the Clippers are discussing a deal that would send Lance Stephenson to L.A. for center Spencer Hawes and forward Matt Barnes. (Update: ESPN is reporting the deal is essentially done, and Yahoo now says it's done.)
This could affect the Heat because it would leave an even greater deficiency at shooting guard for the Hornets and could provide yet more impetus to them to take Kentucky shooting guard Devin Booker one spot before Miami.
Booker, considered the best shooter in the draft, has met with the Heat and Pat Riley has told him that he could develop behind Dwyane Wade, according to Booker.
But it's now very dubious whether Booker gets to Miami's pick at No. 10.
What's more, Hornets shooting guard Gerald Henderson hasn’t said if he’s exercising a $6 million player option, something Charlotte might not know before the draft.
If Booker is gone, Wisconsin forward/center Frank Kaminsky and small forward Sam Dekker, Johnson, Oubre and power forwards Turner and Trey Lyles could be the best options at No. 10.
### UM recruiting notes: In a week, the Hurricanes have gone to 24 oral commitment for 2016, back to 23, up to 24 and now back to 23 after today’s news that Pembroke Pines Flanagan safety Devin Gil de-committed to UM during a visit to Michigan. Gil told Canesport.com that Miami is still in his top five….
Palmetto, Fla.-based quarterback Jack Allison, a UM oral commitment, told Canesport that he will enroll at Miami next January. Rivals.com ranks him the sixth-best pro style quarterback and 200th best prospect overall.