The Marlins’ improvement this season did not go unnoticed by their peers.
The Marlins had four players — including three pitchers — selected to the upcoming All-Star game, matching a franchise record.
Jose Fernandez, A.J. Ramos and Fernando Rodney will join Marcell Ozuna as All-Stars on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.
The quartet got the news from Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria prior to Tuesday’s game.
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“Usually when you get called in the principal’s office it’s bad news,” Ramos said. “He called me in and said, ‘I have some bad news, you guys won’t be able to get those days off at the break because you’re going to San Diego.”
The four selections was their most since 2005 when Miguel Cabrera, Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca and Dontrelle Willis were selected.
The Marlins also had four All-Stars the previous season — Cabrera, Carl Pavano, Mike Lowell and Armando Benitez.
“It goes back to what we’ve talked about all year long,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “We feel we have a talented club and we have high hopes.”
Fernandez, the ace of the Marlins’ starting rotation, was chosen for the second time in his career and first since his rookie season in 2013.
Ozuna earns his first All-Star trip as a reserve outfielder in what has been a remarkable turnaround season for the 25-year old Dominican outfielder.
Fernandez and Ozuna were teammates even before their major-league breakthroughs when they played together in 2012 at Single-A Jupiter.
Being selected in the same year was special for both.
“For me, it means a lot,” Ozuna said. “I worked hard in the offseason to have a good season.”
As he stood next to Ozuna, Fernandez interjected: “He's trying to say, he's very happy to be part of such an amazing group. A bunch of superstars are going to be there. It's an honor to be a part of that. I got lucky and I was there before. I think it's going to be an amazing experience.”
The Marlins’ bullpen, which has been one of the team’s greatest strengths, will be represented by its closer, Ramos, and its newest set-up reliever in Rodney, who was acquired in a trade with the Padres last Thursday.
Rodney, 39, earned his third All-Star nod after making it in 2012 with the Rays and in 2014 with the Mariners.
He becomes the first Marlin to make the All-Star roster after starting the season with another team since Gary Sheffield, who also earned a spot in the game after coincidentally also being traded to the Marlins from the Padres in 1993.
Fernandez found out the news at the same stadium where he pitched in that first All-Star appearance and made his first major-league start.
“I don’t know what New York has with me,” Fernandez joked. “I feel lucky and blessed. In 2013, I was trying to take everything in and everywhere I looked there was a superstar. So to be a part of that is a great honor.”
Fernandez, who is scheduled to make his next start Friday at Marlins Park, is 10-4 with a 2.69 ERA in 16 starts this season.
He leads the majors in strikeouts per nine innings with a 13.1 ratio and his 146 strikeouts rank second in the majors behind Max Scherzer (155).
The total is a franchise record for a pitcher before the All-Star break.
Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery in 2014, was put on an innings plan in the neighborhood of 180 innings (roughly 28 or 29 starts) in the hopes of preserving his arm for a full season and keeping him available should the Marlins make a postseason run.
Fernandez has pitched 100 1/3 innings so far this season and said Tuesday he continues to feel healthy.
Ozuna, who finished 15th in NL outfield voting, entered Tuesday hitting .310 and leading the Marlins in home runs (17) and RBI (47).
All of that comes off a 2015 campaign in which he spent a month in the minors and saw his season average dip to a career-worst .259 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI.
Ramos had 24 saves in 25 opportunities, which ranked second in the National League entering Tuesday. Earlier this season, Ramos (2.45 ERA in 33 innings pitched) matched a club record for consecutive saves with 33 in a row.
“It was a surreal moment because that was one of my goals this season,” Ramos said. “And my team was able to put me in position to get those saves. It was an amazing day.”
Rodney, who recorded 17 saves in 17 chances for the Padres this season and has 253 career saves, moved into a set-up role upon joining the Marlins.
Before Rodney gave up two runs in relief during Monday’s 8-6 loss to the Mets, he had compiled a 0.29 ERA and had only allowed one earned run in 30 2/3 prior innings pitched.
“Obviously A.J. and Marcell I think being first-time guys it’s so exciting for them,” Mattingly said. “Fernando we’ve only had for a few days so I don’t know how much credit we can take but we’ll take it. Great trade, right? And Jose obviously deserves it the way he’s pitched all season.”
Besides Ozuna, Martin Prado was the only other player to finish in the top five at any position on the NL fan voting. Prado finished fifth among third basemen.
The Marlins did not have any players on the ballot to determine the final player selected to the National League roster.
Fernandez wasn’t shy about his feelings that the Marlins deserved to be recognized.
However, a few players including Prado and J.T. Realmuto, who is hitting .325 this season, did not make the cut.
“I think a lot of our teammates deserve to be there,” Fernandez said. “They're putting up the numbers, the work. I think a lot of our teammates should be there with us. Hopefully things can change a little bit around that. I think we have a lot of our teammates who are doing really well, and they're not being talked about. There are very important things to be addressed.”