Rookie Jose Fernandez hopes to pitch in All-Star game
JUL 08, 2013 7:10p ET
The kid with the golden arm, after just 138 1/3 minor-league innings, will be limited to 150-170 during his rookie season.
Fernandez is at 98 2/3 heading into his final start before the All-Star Game, scheduled for Saturday night against Washington.
Still, Fernandez said Monday he would be surprised if the Marlins asked National League manager Bruce Bochy to refrain from using the 20-year-old right-hander in next Tuesday night’s All-Game at Citi Field in New York.
“In my mind, I’m thinking I’m going to pitch,” said Fernandez, named to the NL team on Saturday. ”I’m going to throw one pitch, I hope. I don’t think they will (ask that I not be used).
“It would only be one inning, I think. Maybe one out … two outs … whatever it is, I’m going to try to enjoy it.”
Fernandez, who turns 21 on July 31, became the youngest Marlins player to be named to the All-Star team. Miguel Cabrera was 21 years and three months old when he was picked in 2004, and Dontrelle Willis was also 21 when he was on the 2003 team.
According to STATS LLC, Fernandez will be the sixth youngest pitcher to be on the All-Star team after Dwight Gooden (19 in 1984), Bob Feller (19 in 1938), Catfish Hunter (20 in 1966), Jerry Walker (20 in 1959) and Fernandez Valenzuela (20 in 1981).
And to think Fernandez had been expected to start the season at Double-A. He was added to the big-league roster right before Opening Day because injuries put starters Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez on the disabled list.
Fernandez made his major league debut at Citi Field against the Mets on April 7. Little more than three months later, it’s the Citi where the Cuban defector will be announced as the Marlins’ lone All-Star representative.
Although he plans to spend the All-Star break in Bimini, Fla., with former teammate Mike Lowell and their families, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he would love to see Fernandez oppose the American League.
“I want to see him pitch, yeah, of course,” Redmond said before Monday night’s game against Atlanta at Marlins Park. “Are you kidding me? A 20-year-old All-Star, I hope they get him in there. I’d just love to get a chance to see him with all those guys. He’s going to be on cloud nine, that’s for sure. What an honor.”
Fernandez is 5-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts for a team that began the week 32-55. Opposing hitters are batting .194 against him.
The Marlins ace said he was looking forward to shaking hands with Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, and added he wanted to pitch to Big Papi and New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
“I would love to pitch, to face those guys because they’re the best hitters in the world,” Fernandez said. “I want to pitch against the best. Hopefully, I get the chance.”
Fernandez said he would bring his mom to New York for the All-Star festivities. Five years ago, the two escaped Cuba on their fourth attempt.
The young pitcher’s mom was so happy her son was named to the All-Star team on Saturday, she texted him “about 10 times.”
“I haven’t let my family know in Cuba yet,” Fernandez said, “but I will.”
Told relatives in his homeland probably already heard the news, Fernandez grinned and said, “Maybe, maybe, I don’t know … but yeah, they probably know.”
Fernandez has said he hoped to be an All-Star many times in his career. Until a few weeks ago, nobody saw his first Midsummer Classic trip happening in 2013.
“I don’t really look at it that I’m young,” he said. “I come to the field everyday to try my best, work hard and get better. I got lucky that they selected me to be there with those incredible players. I’m incredibly blessed to be there with those guys.”
Charlie McCarthy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mccarthy_chas