Jose Fernandez to Start in Jacksonville Saturday

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By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Suns are proud to announce that 2013 National League Rookie of the Year and Miami Marlins ace right-handed pitcher Jose Fernandez is scheduled to make his last start in his major league rehab assignment for the Suns on Saturday June 27 against the Biloxi Shuckers at Bragan Field at 7:05 p.m.

So far Fernandez has made four rehab starts with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads, going 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts. In his last start on Monday night, Fernandez earned the win in his seven innings against the St. Lucie Mets. In his seven innings he allowed only a run on four hits with a walk and nine strikeouts.

“Thank God, I feel healthy,” Fernandez told reporters after Monday’s start. “Arm’s feeling great, looking forward for my next bullpen in two days and then Saturday in Jacksonville.”

The Marlins plan for Saturday’s start in Jacksonville to be his last in the minor leagues, allowing him to make his 2015 major league debut on Thursday July 2 against the San Francisco Giants at Marlins Park in Miami at 12:10. Fernandez will throw around 90 pitches for the Suns, and the Marlins hope he can continue to have good results in the minors.

“It’s not only the fact that he stretched himself out to that 90-pitch mark, but also the quality of what he did, only one walk, nine punchouts,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said of Fernandez’s next-to-last rehab start before rejoining the Marlins’ rotation. “The quickness and the depth to his curveball was huge, and the fact that he used a changeup as much as he did.”

Fernandez is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent on May 16, 2014 by Dr. Neal El Attrache in Los Angeles. Last season Fernandez made eight starts for the Marlins, going 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA.

After being slated to begin the 2013 season in Jacksonville, Fernandez made the Marlins’ Opening Day roster due to injuries and went on to become a National League All-Star and the N.L. Rookie of the Year after going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA in 28 starts for Miami. That year he set rookie records in ERA, strikeouts (187), average against (.182)., and WHIP (0.98). Finished with second-lowest ERA and WHIP (min. 162.0 IP) in Club history for any pitcher, behind only Kevin Brown in 1996 in both categories (1.89 and 0.94, respectively).

Fernandez was selected by the Marlins in the first round (14th overall pick) of the 2011 draft out of Alonso High School in Tampa, Florida. Fernandez, 22, is a native of Santa Clara, Cuba, and attempted to defect unsuccessfully three times, with each failed attempt followed by a prison term in Cuba. He and his mother did defect in 2008, although on that attempt his mother fell hit in turbulent waters, and Jose had to dive into the water to save his mother’s life.

Saturday celebrate Madame Chairman Mary Frances Bragan’s 91st Birthday with Mary Frances Bragan Bobblehead Giveaway, Blood Alliance Blood Drive & Post-Game Fireworks! Be sure to arrive early as the first 3,000 fans will get a Mary Frances Bragan Bobblehead, courtesy of the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, CBS-47 & WOKV! The Blood Alliance Bloodmobile will be on hand and the Suns encourage all fans to donate blood! The first 25 donors receive 2 tickets to the game plus a hot dog and soda voucher! It’s also the Saturday Night Shrimp Buffet courtesy of Sea Best!  Get unlimited Butterfly Breaded Shrimp and sides from 6-8 in the Sundowner Lounge! Plus stick around for a special Saturday Fireworks Show for Mrs. Bragan!

The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.

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