Miami Marlins

Jose Fernandez skipping next start to preserve arm

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez will miss his next scheduled start and is expected to return June 21.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez will miss his next scheduled start and is expected to return June 21. pportal@elnuevoherald.com

Jose Fernandez is taking a minibreak.

But it won’t be a long one, and it’s no cause for alarm.

The Marlins’ ace will skip his next scheduled start, which would have been Friday at Marlins Park, as part of a predesigned program to manage his innings.

“This has been part of the plan from the beginning,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s part of the plan we worked out over the winter.”

Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2014. But because he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2013, the Marlins are being careful and limiting his workload to about 180 innings.

During the winter, the Marlins sat down with Fernandez, his doctors and agent Scott Boras to design a program to make sure he completes a full season yet remains within the 180-inning range.

“To be able to get to that range, we knew we couldn’t just send him out there every start,” Mattingly said. “So we had to be able to back off somewhere. We didn’t want to get to the end of the season and say he’s done. We wanted him to be able to compete the whole season. That’s what he wanted. That’s what everybody wants.”

Mattingly said the plan calls for Fernandez to skip his next start, along with one more later in the season.

“Everybody signed off on it, from doctors, to Jose, to Scott, to [Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill],” Mattingly said. “Everybody kind of knows exactly the plan, and this has been there from the beginning.”

With the season about 40 percent complete, Fernandez has made 13 starts, in which he has totaled 80 innings. He is 9-3 with a 2.57 ERA.

Mattingly said Fernandez will make his next start on Tuesday when the Marlins face the Braves in Miami. With an off day Thursday, everyone else in the rotation will move up a spot.

STANTON SITS

Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t in the lineup Wednesday for the second time in the series, even though he showed signs of breaking out of his slump with a double the night before.

“This is more a part of the schedule,” Mattingly said. “We talked about possibly [benching Stanton] the whole series, letting him be able to continue his work without having to take it on the field.”

Stanton entered Wednesday with a .194 average and had hit just one homer with five RBI over his past 19 games. Stanton did pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded into a fielder’s choice, leaving him at .193.

▪ Jeff Mathis hadn’t hit a grand slam since 2013, when his bases-loaded shot in the ninth beat the Padres.

He didn’t prolong matters Tuesday. With the bases loaded in the first inning, the light-hitting Mathis launched his first homer of the season, and the Marlins made it stand up in a 5-2 victory over the Padres.

“For me to tack on a few more right there I thought was big for us, and big for myself, too,” said Mathis, who brought a .170 batting average into the game and had driven in only one run all season.

▪ Derek Dietrich has a bruised left foot, where he was struck by a pitch on Monday. But X-rays were negative, and Mattingly said Dietrich was available to pinch-hit, if necessary.

COMING UP

▪ Thursday: Off day.

▪ Friday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (3-4, 4.13 ERA) vs. Colorado Rockies RHP Jon Gray (4-2, 4.70), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 4.68) vs. Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (8-4, 2.89), 4:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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