Fernandez pitches 2 hitless innings; Nats top Marlins 7-4
VIERA, Fla. (AP) Jose Fernandez pitched two hitless innings for the Miami Marlins in his spring training debut Monday, a 7-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.
The 2013 NL Rookie of the Year, Fernandez struck out one and walked one, throwing 34 pitches. He was limited to 64 2/3 innings last season, when he returned from Tommy John surgery and later missed a month because of a strained right bicep.
''It felt great,'' Fernandez. ''It felt so good to be out there. My heart started going before throwing the first pitch.''
New Marlins manager Don Mattingly has been encouraging Fernandez to use his full arsenal of pitches and spot his fastball so he doesn't feel the need to reach back and try to throw 98 mph as often as in the past.
Fernandez said he threw seven or eight changeups, including his final pitch, which struck out Danny Espinosa.
''It's hard for me to change who I am when I pitch,'' Fernandez said.
Nationals: Joe Ross threw 2 2/3 innings for Washington, allowing two runs on four straight hits. He also struck out four.
Marlins: Justin Maxwell was hit by a pitch on the left hand and had a precautionary X-ray, which was negative.
Nationals: Manager Dusty Baker said it could be a couple of weeks before Ryan Zimmerman plays his first spring training game. The team is trying to manage Zimmerman's plantar fasciitis, a chronic condition in his left foot that has been bothering him since early last season.
''We want to be cautious with him so he doesn't have any kind of setback or relapse that sets him back for a couple of weeks,'' Baker said. ''I was Zim at some point in time in my career when I had a bad knee.''
Baker said he would like to get Zimmerman 45-to-50 at-bats during spring training.
Marlins: Tom Koehler gets the start at home on Tuesday against the New York Yankees.
Nationals: Max Scherzer is to make his second start, against Houston in Kissimmee.
Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon got a mixed reaction from the crowd as he came out to pitch the ninth inning. Papelbon, who fought with Bryce Harper in the dugout in September, retired the side in order for the save.