The Miami Marlins will open Grapefruit League action on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. It is the first game of the Grapefruit League for the Marlins, and manager Mike Redmond has given the ball to Jose Fernandez — A very obvious choice given how well he pitched last season.
It is a good thing for Redmond to throw Fernandez into action early. He needs to start getting into a rhythm as the season starts to inch closer. The more action Fernandez gets, the better it will be for him to catch up once Miami takes on the Colorado Rockies in the first game of the season later in March. Fernandez is not expected to pitch more than two innings.
There is a lot of hype surrounding Fernandez going into his second full season. The reigning NL ROY went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA before he hit his innings limit. This year, he may not have an innings limit as he heads a Marlins rotation filled with young pitching. He will most certainly be the focal point but if Fernandez can lead by example, other youngsters like Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez may follow suit. Both pitchers bounced back towards the end of the year, which could result in a quick turnaround this season.
Fernandez does not need to have a strong spring, but needs to work on conditioning for the start of the year.