04/08/2013 6:55 PM ET
Could Fernandez create D-Train-type stir in Miami?
Rookie dazzles in MLB debut in NYC, will make first home start Saturday
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Mania has a way of happening. It isn't manufactured.
The Marlins experienced it in 2003 when Dontrelle Willis, then a little known left-hander with a herky-jerky delivery, gave birth to D-Train mania.
Willis became an immediate rage in a season he won National League Rookie of the Year honors.
Could Jose Fernandez mania be next in Miami?
If the 20-year-old's MLB debut on Sunday was an indication, Fernandez has the makings of a rising star. The right-hander struck out eight and allowed one run in five innings against the Mets at Citi Field.
"Will the fans embrace it?" Marlins president David Samson said. "We didn't know the fans would embrace Dontrelle like they did. You never know when it's going to happen. It's hard to plan it."
Fernandez is an inspiring story. A Cuban defector who was Miami's first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, he has made the leap from Class A ball to the big leagues.
Mike Redmond was the Marlins' backup catcher in '03 when Willis inspired the team. The new Miami manager believes Fernandez can give the '13 Marlins a similar impact to what Willis did a decade ago.
"His stuff is so good," the first-year skipper said. "His stuff is so polished as a pitcher. He is throwing the 94-95 mph fastball, and it's amazing how good his secondary pitches are. He threw some nasty changeups and some great curveballs as well.
"We've definitely got a couple of guys banged up. We need guys to go out there and step up. A lot of times you don't say, 'Hey, it's going to be a 20-year-old rookie to be the guy.' But, it could be."
The Marlins are closely monitoring Fernandez, limiting him to between 150-170 innings. That's why his afternoon was done after 80 pitches at New York in his debut.
With Fernandez, the team is taking it easy. They are easing him in to what promises to be big-time success.
The righty's next start is set for Saturday night against the Phillies.
"We're not doing a Jose Fernandez section in the ballpark, or a Jose Fernandez bobblehead," Samson said. "If he starts 12-0 with a 1.25 [ERA] like Dontrelle, or whatever he did, then those things are going to happen."
Resting Eovaldi close to throwing again
MIAMI -- Chances of Nathan Eovaldi returning to the big league games in April may be slim, but the right-hander should be resuming his throwing program soon.
Initially listed as the Marlins' No. 2 starter, Eovaldi was placed on the 15-day disabled list on March 31, retroactive to March 24, with right shoulder inflammation.
The right-hander has been doing his rehab at the team's Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. On Monday, he was at Marlins Park for the team's home opener against the Braves.
Technically, Eovaldi has biceps tendinitis, at the point where the biceps reaches up to the front of his right shoulder. Right now, he continues to rest, but it could be a matter of days before he is back throwing.
A recent MRI exam came back clean, showing inflammation but no structural damage.
"They say if you give it time and let it go away, it shouldn't come back," Eovaldi said. "It wasn't anything that I was pitching through, it was a little tightness."
Eovaldi said he experienced some tightness during his six-inning Spring Training start against the Cardinals on March 23.
"I didn't think anything of it," he said. "The next day it was still tight. I thought maybe it was still soreness."
He did some light throwing a day or two after that start before he was shut down.
Cishek congratulates, apologizes to Fernandez
MIAMI -- For the way Jose Fernandez pitched in his big league debut on Sunday at New York, Steve Cishek offered a heart-felt congratulations shortly after the game.
The Marlins closer also used the time to apologize for blowing the save, as the Mets rallied to a 4-3 win with two runs in the ninth inning.
Fernandez, who gave up one run in five innings, was in line for the win. Instead, the 20-year-old rookie received a no-decision.
"I walked over to him and congratulated him," Cishek said on Monday. "I apologized for blowing it for him. I just said, 'Congratulations, that was awesome. I'm very proud of you.' He pitched great. If he fills up the strike zone like that, he's going to have a very bright future. There's going to be more opportunities for him to get a win."
As for his own performance, Cishek said he didn't have a feel for his slider, which ended up hurting him in the ninth. The pitch that he felt turned everything around was grazing Ruben Tejada's jersey with one out and a 1-2 count.
The Mets seized the opening and won it on Marlon Byrd's two-run single.
"I felt good, but my slider was garbage," Cishek said. "Usually, my slider is my good pitch. If I fall behind, I can flip it over for a strike. I like to put away lefties with it. I didn't have a feel for it out there. One pitch, I thought that killed me, was hitting Tejada."