Jose Fernandez could begin throwing program on October 1

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Marlins ace Jose Fernandez is still a long way from pitching in the majors again, but he’s very close to picking up a baseball for the first time since his Tommy John surgery on May 16.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com that Fernandez had a checkup with surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache today in Los Angeles in hopes of being cleared to begin a throwing program on October 1. Typical recovery from Tommy John surgery takes 12-18 months — Fernandez is just four months removed from surgery right now — so odds are he won’t make it back to the Marlins until around midseason next year.

Fernandez, 22, had a 2.44 over eight starts this season prior to the injury and owns a 2.25 ERA and 257/71 K/BB ratio over his first 224 1/3 innings in the majors.