Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Ex-Alonso star Fernandez makes amends

MIAMI — Now a full-time spectator for the rest of the season, Marlins ace Jose Fernandez sat quietly behind the dugout railing Thursday as his team lost 6-1 to the Braves.

The 21-year-old former Alonso High star didn't lead cheers, help the bat boy or lobby to pinch run. He merely sat and watched.

The new Jose? Maybe. Manager Mike Redmond wants the rookie right-hander to tone down his exuberant behavior. Redmond said the Braves had a legitimate grievance with the rookie's behavior, which led to a bench-clearing confrontation Wednesday during his final start this season.

The Braves were unhappy Fernandez stood at the plate admiring his homer, then spat toward the Braves' Chris Johnson while rounding third base. The Braves were annoyed Fernandez reacted with a cocky grin when he gave up a homer to Evan Gattis.

"Jose is an emotional guy," Redmond said Thursday. "That's part of his game that is going to improve. We don't want to take the 'having fun' aspect away from him. That's what makes him him. But at the same time, I think maybe he can center that a little bit. … That might be a part of his game he needs to look at, and maybe try to do something different."

After the game, Fernandez, who finished his year 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA, apologized for his behavior. He struck out 187 in 172 2/3 innings, and won't pitch again because the Marlins set a 170-inning limit for him this year.

"He's going to be one of the top pitchers in this league for a long time," Redmond said. "But you want your players to be judged for the way they compete, not for the theatrics."

Fernandez has been demonstrative all season. He's quick to lead cheers in the dugout or strike up a conversation with an opposing player.

The Braves were particularly miffed by his showboating after his first major-league homer. As he crossed the plate, C Brian McCann scolded him for the display, which led both benches and bullpens to clear.

After the game, a chastened Fernandez said he had gotten carried away amid the emotions of his final game. He sought out McCann and pitcher Mike Minor and apologized to them.

"I thought the way he handled it was perfect," Redmond said. "And we're moving on."

Cardinals: C Yadier Molina missed a second consecutive game because his mother, Gladys, is recuperating from an unspecified surgery. There is no timetable for his return.

Padres: Trevor Hoffman, a special assistant to the team president since his retirement in January 2011, was promoted to upper-level pitching coordinator and special assistant to GM Josh Byrnes. Hoffman, the former closer, will evaluate and coordinate all pitchers at Double A, Triple A and the big-league team.

Twins: C Joe Mauer (concussion symptoms) returned to Target Field for a workout that went well. "He left feeling good," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

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