Miami Marlins

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez wants to hit in Home Run Derby

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 11, 2013, in Miami.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 11, 2013, in Miami. AP

Jose Fernandez just doesn’t want to pitch in the All-Star Game when it’s played here on July 12.

He wants to participate in the Home Run Derby, as well.

“I want in for sure,” Fernandez said. “Oh my God, it would be amazing.”

A few pitchers — the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta and the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright — have come out within the past week saying they would like to take part in the Derby.

There’s no plan in place at the moment to include pitchers in the July 11 Home Run Derby, which features baseball’s top sluggers. But Fernandez and some others are all for including pitchers in some variation of the contest.

“We should do our own Home Run Derby,” Fernandez said of a pitcher’s-only contest. “I think it would be very fun for baseball. I think the fans would love to see that.”

Fernandez has two career homers and possesses the most pop on the Marlins’ pitching staff.

“He definitely has power,” said Marlins catching coach Brian Schneider, who throws batting practice to the team’s pitchers. “There’s no doubt about it. He hits balls a long way. If he goes and he does do it, he’s got a lot of pop, and I would put anything past him.”

Said Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler: “I’ve seen him hit some moon-shot home runs in batting practice, so there’s no doubt I think he’d do a good job.”

But Schneider said he would also be concerned about a pitcher sustaining an injury in a power-hitting contest simply by swinging too hard.

“You’re swinging, and you’re swinging hard,” Schneider said. “It would make me a little bit nervous.”

Koehler, though, doesn’t think there would be a high risk for injury. He said daily batting practice for pitchers typically involves a heavy emphasis on bunting, followed by a home run contest.

“Honestly, most of the time, that’s all we’re doing, is basically a home run derby every day when we take batting practice,” Koehler said. “Well, it’s bunting, and we swing as hard as we can. So I don’t think there’s an injury risk necessarily.”

Koehler said Fernandez is by far the home run king among Marlins pitchers.

“It’s not close,” Koehler said. “It’s kind of the rest of us play amongst ourselves, and he doesn’t count.”

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton said he wouldn’t bet against Fernandez in a pitcher’s-only home run contest.

“Yeah, he could hold his own, for sure,” Stanton said. “I’ve only seen Bumgarner hit aside from him, and I think they’d be on top, from what I’ve seen.”

But Fernandez is chomping at the bit to go blow-to-blow against fellow hurlers.

“I’m down. I’m ready,” Fernandez said Monday at Petco Park, where the Marlins were preparing to open a three-game series against the Padres. “And I can practice today, too.”


Sensing a growing frustration with Stanton, manager Don Mattingly benched his slumping slugger for Monday’s game against the Padres and started Ichiro Suzuki in his place.

“I think ‘G’ is really frustrated with the way things are going, and I just don’t want that to boil over into worse,” Mattingly said. “I’m really trying to get him rested where he can work without having to get out there as much, and try to get him back on track.”

Stanton, who is mired in an 11-for-98 slump, entered the day hitting .192.

Mattingly said he intended to start Stanton on Tuesday but was noncommittal about playing him in the series finale on Wednesday.


▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Koehler (4-6, 4.36 ERA) at San Diego Padres LHP Drew Pomeranz (5-6, 2.44), 10:10 p.m., Petco Park.

▪ Wednesday: Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino (2-3, 4.76) at San Diego Padres (TBA), 3:40 p.m., Petco Park.