Sunday’s much-anticipated duel between Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and White Sox ace Chris Sale has been nixed. The Marlins, in an effort to limit Fernandez’s innings this season, will skip Fernandez’s turn in the rotation. Tom Koehler will start on Sunday and oppose Sale instead.
Fernandez, 24, underwent Tommy John surgery and didn’t return until July last year. The Marlins are hoping to limit Fernandez to 180-90 innings this season. He’s already at 137 2/3 with a 12-6 record, a 2.81 ERA and a 198/41 K/BB ratio.
Fernandez’s current K/9 rate of 12.94 would be the third-best in baseball history — among starters who qualified for the ERA title — behind Randy Johnson in 2001 (13.41) and Pedro Martinez in 1999 (13.20). Both Johnson and Martinez won the Cy Young Award in their respective seasons.
Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports that the Marlins have had internal discussions about Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez, who will be released by the Yankees after Friday night’s game.
MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro adds that the Marlins’ interest in Rodriguez is dependent on how long they expect first baseman Justin Bour to be out with an ankle injury. Bour was expected to return from the disabled list last Friday but the ankle continues to be bothersome.
Rodriguez, 41, is hitting an abysmal .203/.251/.355 with nine home runs and 29 RBI in 235 plate appearances with the Yankees. Going to the Marlins would be a homecoming of sorts, as he went to school in Miami.
Rodriguez is four home runs shy of 700 for his career. Having number 700 celebrated by the Marlins’ obnoxious home run sculpture would be fitting.
Cubs reliever Pedro Strop has a torn meniscus in his left knee and will be out four to six weeks, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. The club recalled Justin Grimm from Triple-A Iowa.
Strop, 31, suffered the injury attempting to field a ground ball in the eighth inning on Wednesday against the Angels. The right-hander has posted a 2.89 ERA with a 56/13 K/BB ratio in 43 2/3 innings.
Normally, losing a reliever of Strop’s quality would be a big loss, but the Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman, Mike Montgomery, and Joe Smith ahead of the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline. They have plenty of bullpen depth to withstand Strop’s absence.
Six weeks would put Strop’s return date around mid-September. It’s entirely possible the Cubs will have the NL Central wrapped up at that time.