Not much rattles 20-year-old Jose Fernandez when he’s on the mound – unless, of course, he looks toward home plate and sees his manager squatting down with a catcher’s glove.
“He was nervous,’’ Mike Redmond, a former catcher, said with a laugh after running onto the field to warm up Fernandez before the second inning.
“I said, ‘Hey man, I still have good hands. Just let it rip.’ I felt like saying, ‘Hey, your stuff is not that nasty, all right. You’re not going to blow me up.’’’
Fernandez, the Marlins’ top pitching prospect, let it rip in his spring debut and allowed a hit and struck out one in two innings in a “B game’’ on a back field at Roger Dean Stadium.
He faced a lineup made up mostly of St. Louis prospects and minor leaguers, but he got Rafael Furcal, the lone major leaguer in the order, to bounce into a double play on a comebacker.
“He’s a good kid. I made him (be) bat boy after he was done pitching and we sat there and talked a little bit about pitching and watched hitters,’’ Redmond said.
Fernandez’s next outing will be Tuesday night when he pitches an inning in relief against Venezuela’s World Baseball Classic team at Roger Dean Stadium.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders,’’ Redmond said. “He is going to be special, whenever that day comes.’’
Fernandez was minor league pitcher of the year in 2012 after going a combined 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 134 innings at low-Class A Greensboro and high-Class A Jupiter.
“He hasn’t pitched above A-ball but obviously what he has done has been amazing,’’ Redmond said.
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