SAN DIEGO -- To keep Jose Fernandez available for roughly 180 innings this season, the Marlins will skip their ace's next start, which would have been Friday at home against the Rockies.
Manager Don Mattingly made it clear on Wednesday that Fernandez is fine physically, and the decision was predetermined as far back as Spring Training. Fernandez will next start on Tuesday night against the Braves at Marlins Park.
Fernandez, 23, is having an All-Star worthy season. The right-hander is 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.
In his last outing, a 5-3 loss at Arizona on Saturday, Fernandez was perfect through 5 2/3 innings before allowing four runs with two outs. He lasted six innings that game.
Mattingly said this is the only scheduled start Fernandez will miss prior to the All-Star break.
The manager did note Fernandez will be pushed back another start in the second half.
"We didn't want to get to the end of the season and say, 'OK, he's done,'" Mattingly said. "We wanted him to be able to compete through the whole season. That's what he wanted. That's what everybody wants. So there is a planned skip, and another planned skip. That's how we're able to manage his innings by basically just missing a turn."
Fernandez is two years removed from Tommy John surgery, and the club entered the season planning on capping his innings in the neighborhood of 180.
All parties signed off on the decision a while back. Mattingly noted Fernandez and his agent, Scott Boras, and physician, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery, were involved in the decision.
"This has been there from the beginning," Mattingly said. "He's been fine. There's no issue with Jose, with his arm. It's really tough for him to have to do this, because he knows he is feeling great. That's the danger of it, is if he gets out of rhythm at all. We hope that doesn't happen, but these are the alternatives. These are what you deal with when you're trying to keep him at an innings range. We knew we had to do this at different points in the season. When it comes, you don't like doing it, it's where we're at. It's how we all agreed to get there."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.