8/30/2013 11:02 P.M. ET
Fernandez sets Marlins franchise rookie record
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- The record came in a bittersweet first inning on Friday night for Jose Fernandez, but the big picture puts the achievement in perspective.
With an 81-mph curveball, Fernandez struck out Chris Johnson swinging to establish a Marlins rookie strikeout record.
The K, his second in the inning, gave Fernandez 167 on the season, breaking Scott Olsen's previous mark of 166 set in 2006.
Fernandez turned in a solid performance on another frustrating night for the Marlins, who lost, 2-1, to the Braves at Turner Field.
In six innings, Fernandez allowed two runs on three hits, and he finished with eight strikeouts, giving him 173 on the season.
Like he's done with everything in his rookie season, Fernandez is taking his strikeout record in stride.
"I don't know what to say about that," he said. "I guess it's good. It's whatever, though. Hopefully, we'll get a win tomorrow and have fun."
Facing a tough Braves lineup at Turner Field, Fernandez wasted little time matching Olsen's record that stood for more than 6 1/2 seasons.
Fernandez struck out Jordan Schafer with an 82-mph curveball to lead off the first inning. From there, Miami's rookie ace encountered some trouble. He allowed a double to Elliot Johnson, followed by an elevated changeup that Freddie Freeman crushed for a two-run homer to center.
After falling behind by two quick runs, Fernandez quickly struck out Johnson.
Friday's loss was the first for Fernandez since July 7 at St. Louis. In August, the rookie has been dominant. For the month, he struck out 49 in 39 innings. It's the second-highest strikeout total for any month in Marlins history. In 2008, Ricky Nolasco fanned 51 in August.
One of the promising young pitchers in the game, Fernandez is making his mark on team history in a season he was initially expected to start off at Double-A Jacksonville. But due to shoulder injuries to Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez at the end of Spring Training, Fernandez was a surprising choice to make Miami's Opening Day roster.
Five years after defecting from Cuba at age 15, Fernandez found himself in the big leagues two years after being Miami's first-round pick in 2011. He also made the leap without previously pitching higher than Class A.
"I started thinking about it," said Miami manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher. "I caught Francisco Liriano, Johan Santana, Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny. It's a pretty decent list of pitchers there."
Of all of them, Redmond notes Fernandez is the "most polished" as a rookie.
"Josh had a real good fastball and a decent changeup," Redmond said. "He didn't really locate his breaking ball. That was a work in progress.
"A.J. had a really good fastball and a big curveball, he struggled throwing it for strikes. A lot of those guys, it took them a few years to really perfect their pitching and how to pitch. Jose had a real good feel for pitching and how to pitch. His pitches are pretty polished."
Dietrich among Marlins prospects to play in AFL
ATLANTA -- The Marlins have yet to announce whether Derek Dietrich will be part of their September callup group, but the 24-year-old second baseman already is committed to playing fall ball.
Dietrich is one of seven Miami prospects slated to play for Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League.
Dietrich is currently playing for Double-A Jacksonville, where he is starting to heat up. He's riding a four-game hitting streak, going 9-for-14 in the stretch.
He did exit after an RBI single for the Suns on Thursday due to back spasms.
Over his last 10 games, Dietrich is hitting .412. For the season, the former Georgia Tech star is hitting .271 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs at Double-A.
Dietrich spent time this season with the Marlins, getting promoted in early May due to an intercostal injury to Donovan Solano.
In 57 games with Miami, the rookie batted .214 with nine homers and 23 RBIs. Combining his big league and Minor League totals, Dietrich has connected on 20 homers.
Still, there are parts of his all-around game the club would like to see improvement, which is why he will be heading to the Arizona Fall League.
"We're looking for him to be more consistent in the strike zone and hit some offspeed pitches," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He's still got areas of his game he needs to sharpen up and work on. We talked about when he came up that he really wasn't a guy we anticipated coming up when he did. He did a nice job and he learned a lot. At the same time, too, the Fall League is a good time to extend his season a little bit. Give him some more time and give him the best opportunity to come into Spring Training and make the team."
Also heading to the Arizona Fall League is lefty Andrew Heaney, 22, the organization's top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Miami's No. 2 prospect is a combined 9-3 with a 1.60 ERA overall at Class A Jupiter and Jacksonville. Since joining the Suns, he is 4-1 with a 2.94 ERA in six starts .
Third baseman Colin Moran, Miami's first-round pick this season, also will be heading to Arizona. So is lefty reliever Edgar Olmos, 23, who had a brief stint with Miami and is now at Double-A.
Right-handed relievers Nick Wittgren and Colby Suggs are on the list, as is Double-A outfielder Brent Keys.
Rookie reliever Ramos racking up strikeouts
ATLANTA -- Another hard-throwing Marlins right-hander ranks among the rookie leaders in strikeouts.
A.J. Ramos has fanned 73 batters, which is tied for the second most of any MLB rookie reliever.
Miami's Jose Fernandez tops all rookies with 165 strikeouts entering Friday. But among rookie relievers, St. Louis' Trevor Rosenthal leads the pack with 87 strikeouts. Ramos and Cleveland's Cody Allen are tied for second.
"I've thrown a lot of innings, so I've had a lot of opportunities to strike out people," Ramos said. "I guess I've taken advantage of that."
Ramos actually paces all rookie relievers innings pitched with 68 2/3.
Along with a 95-mph fastball, Ramos has logged his share of strikeouts with his slider and curveball. And against left-handed hitters, he's used his changeup to put batters away.
Ramos has been used primarily in the seventh and eighth innings. Like all relievers, he aspires to someday close. For now, he is gaining valuable experience trying to log those final outs.
"The eighth and ninth innings are when people start to press and put on the pressure," Ramos said. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, too. For me, the main thing is slowing the game down.
"Taking it pitch by pitch instead of trying to go for that third out when you only have one. Sometimes you look ahead too far, and it can mess with your focus."
Webb recovering from being struck by foul ball
ATLANTA -- Marlins reliever Ryan Webb is fine after receiving a scare on Thursday during batting practice at Washington.
In a fluke incident, Webb was struck on the back, in his spine, by a liner off the bat of Nationals veteran Scott Hairston.
Webb was limbering up with the team in foul territory on the third-base side when Hairston -- hitting inside the cage -- severely pulled the ball into foul territory.
Hairston immediately checked on Webb, who was knocked down and dazed because he didn't realize what happened. Hairston and Webb were teammates a few years ago in San Diego, and the two talked after the game.