For the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery, Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez faced live hitters, as the Marlins reported. The righty tossed 15 pitches and used his entire aresenal.
"It was competing and it felt really fantastic," Fernandez said following the session. "Command of the ball was [good], except for one or two pitches that were up in the zone a little bit. [I] was sticking my fastball really well. Breaking ball was good. Changeup was good. And I was really happy with the way everything came out today."
On May 9, 2014, Fernandez was pitching against the San Diego Padres and he had discomfort in his right elbow. Just a few days later, he had surgery to fix the torn ligament in his right elbow.
"It's been tough," Fernandez said of the long rehab journey. "It's been lonely. That's why having my family there to support me is so important."
The 22-year-old used two curveballs, four changeups and nine fastballs.
"He's healthy, didn't overthrow and he came out of it in one piece. To me, that's a great day," said Marlins rehab pitching coordinatior, Wayne Rosenthal, who has mentored Fernandez since the right-hander was drafted four years ago. "I think he's understanding that he had Tommy John surgery, and it's a process to come back. He's headstrong, wants to get out there and compete. Sometimes it's hard to do, because he's so competitive. Today, he was outstanding. He stayed within himself, did not overthrow, did what he's supposed to do for his first BP."
Fernandez will have another pitching session on Monday, but he will toss 30 pitches against live batters. If all goes well, the ace will throw a simulated game before making a rehab start in the minors.
"Today was a big day for the Marlins, an enormous day for me," Fernandez said. "I wasn't throwing 100 mph, but I felt like the ball was coming out really well, really strong. It wasn't my best, but it's a good base to start."