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Fernandez Likely Month from Facing Hitters
Friday, March 27
The Miami Herald provided comments from Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, who weighed in on Fernandez's recovery:
There are X amount of bullpens to throw and I think he has like eight left [before he faces live hitters]," Hernandez said Friday shortly before the Marlins and Astros were rained out.
We're doing two a week, so that's a month," Hernandez continued. "Once he gets past batting practice and stuff, then you could have road bumps because you've repped up a lot, pounded [the arm], the intensity goes up. That's why it's not an exact science to it [as far as any exact date when he'll be back with the team]. But we have a general plan, that's big, formulated.
Fernandez Throws off Mound
Sunday, March 1
Fernandez threw off a mound on March 1 for the first time since undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right elbow.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to the star pitcher following his session:
Being the first one, I was a little nervous, but it was great. It's huge. I mean, after almost nine and a half months, getting on the mound again, it feels great. It's where I belong and that's what I love to do, but it's just another step toward a goal. Doesn't mean we're going to rush anything. ...
I think today all around was a really good day. The strike zone was there, the location was there, in and out, right down the middle with a fastball. It was just like riding a bike. Tomorrow we'll see how it feels, how we adjust, because it's been a while. But so far, I feel like I threw a light bullpen. I'm going with the flow, following the plan. There's a lot of days ahead. Just keep taking little steps forward.
Fernandez, 22, had Tommy John surgery last May after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament. The injury, which typically takes 12 to 18 months to heal, limited him to eight starts in 2014. He went 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, putting him well on his way to matching his historic rookie campaign.
In 2013, Fernandez went 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 0.98 WHIP while earning an All-Star berth and Rookie of the Year honors.
The Marlins have gone all-in on adding and retaining talent this offseason, which they hope could lead to a playoff berth. Fernandez said he hopes to return at some point during the regular season and seemed happy with his progress at spring training, per Tom D'angelo of The Palm Beach Post:
I've been working hard. I just want to come back and give my team a chance to win. If I come back better than ever, great. If I come back the same way I was, great. If I come back not where I was and I've got to work to get where I was, that's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it.
Karl Ravech of ESPN spoke on Fernandez's efforts to return after spending time with the club:
Miami has not given a firm timetable for Fernandez's return at this time. However, if the Marlins are going to crack the postseason, Fernandez will need to be a major part of those efforts, making his return a major storyline in Miami's season.
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