Amidst the thunderstorm that currently rages over the Miami Marlins season, a sprinkle of sunshine was dangled in front of our eyes yesterday: Jose Fernandez pitching in a baseball game. Jose began his series of rehab starts in Jupiter, going three innings in an extended spring training game, striking out seven and allowing no hits.
This marks the first of hopefully five starts that Jose will have to make in the minors before returning to the big leagues. If all goes according to plan, Fernandez should be able to make it back for the first week in July. That leaves the Marlins with approximately 28 more chances to lose baseball games until he returns.
The current rotation is a complete disaster and in need of a major face lift. With four pitchers on the disabled list, this staff is due for a major shake up in the next few weeks. David Phelps, Tom Koehler, Jose Urena, and Brad Hand will all be headed for either the bullpen or the airport for a flight to New Orleans to join the AAA team.
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Granted, there is absolutely no guarantee that any of the four returning pitchers Jarred Cosart, Mat Latos, Henderson Alvarez or Fernandez will stay healthy. Alvarez especially is a huge question mark, after a report that he is pitching through a “90% torn” ulnar collateral ligament. Latos has been banged up all year, and is suffering from many of the issues that he endured last season. Surprisingly, Dan Haren has been the only consistently productive starter on the team to this point.
Jose will likely be called upon as soon as he feels ready, as the team is extremely desperate for a productive starter. However, by the time he makes it back it could be too late. The Marlins are already 12 games under .500, and it’s only June. If they keep playing horribly throughout June, or maintain this rate, a couple veterans might already be on their way out the door.
Regardless of what happens in the future, seeing this video warmed my heart, and offered a small slice of hope to a down-trodden Marlins fan.
Now, it’s the last stop for Jose on what has been a long road to recovery. Hopefully he continues to breeze through his rehab starts, and commences the launching of his assault on the National League in July.
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