Skipped start would allow Jose to pitch in All-Star Game

Skipped start would allow Jose to pitch in All-Star Game

MIAMI -- If selected to the All-Star Game, Marlins ace Jose Fernandez plans to pitch, not sit out the Midsummer Classic set for July 12 in San Diego.

The way the Marlins' and Fernandez's camp have structured his innings parameters, skipping Friday's start would make the 23-year-old available should he be part of the National League All-Star squad.

"It's an honor to get chosen to go," Fernandez said on Friday. "I would love to pitch. I think because of this, it lets me pitch in the All-Star Game."

Fernandez was an All-Star as a rookie in 2013. At Citi Field that year, he worked a perfect inning, striking out two. The right-hander is having an All-Star worthy season, sporting a 9-3 record with a 2.57 ERA in 13 starts. He has also struck out 118 batters in 80 2/3 innings.

In big-picture terms, the Marlins outlined a range of innings prior to Spring Training in hopes of keeping their ace in the rotation through the end of the season, and perhaps into the postseason. The innings estimate is roughly 180.

Two years and a month removed from Tommy John surgery, Fernandez was initially lined up to start on Friday in the series opener with the Rockies at Marlins Park, which the Marlins won on a combined one-hitter, 5-1.

But on Wednesday, the club announced the rotation change. Skipping that start has Fernandez ready to go on Tuesday against the Braves.

Thursday's off-day enabled the Marlins to go with the other four in the rotation pitching every fifth day, so there was no need to bring up another starter.

"I don't want to stop pitching, obviously," Fernandez said. "but it makes sense, a lot of sense."

With the extra days' rest, Fernandez threw what he called an "intense" bullpen on Wednesday at San Diego. He's also going to throw off the mound on Saturday in preparation for Tuesday.

Los Angeles-based Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Fernandez's surgery, frequently checks in with Miami's ace.

"I talk to the doctor a lot," Fernandez said. "We talked about this the other day, about missing a start. He was asking me how I was feeling. The best I've felt ever."

If Fernandez does make the All-Star Game, and pitches, the Marlins are then expected to slot him back into the fifth spot of the rotation entering the second half. That would be on July 19 at Philadelphia.

"That's the plan," Fernandez said. "Throw me at the end of the rotation."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for 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.