Top prospect Fernandez sent to Minors

MIAMI — From the first day of Spring Training, it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when Jose Fernandez would be sent down.

The when turned out to be Wednesday.

The Marlins announced Fernandez has been reassigned to Minor League camp. The 20-year-old right-hander is expected to start the season at Double-A Jacksonville.

One reason the organization has waited to make inevitable moves is because Minor League camp started recently, and now the teams are beginning to play scrimmage games. There was no sense in sending players down earlier, when other Minor Leaguers were going through conditioning drills that players in big league camp did a month ago.

The Marlins also have reassigned outfielder Jake Marisnick to Minor League camp. The 21-year-old will start off at Jacksonville, but he will not be ready for Opening Day.

Marisnick will be out at least a month with a broken bone in his left hand.

The third transaction by Miami was optioning reliever Chris Hatcher to Triple-A New Orleans.

Fernandez is Miami’s top-rated prospect.

The hard-throwing right-hander is ranked seventh on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect list.

Miami’s first-round pick in 2011, Fernandez saw action in one Grapefruit League game, throwing two scoreless innings with two strikes. He also threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings in an exhibition against Team Venezuela.

Fernandez has not pitched above Class A ball. If he enjoys a strong first half at Jacksonville, he could get a call-up to the Marlins, perhaps as early as June.

Marisnick is expected to be the starting center fielder at Jacksonville. Defensively, he is big league ready right now. How much he hits will determined when he is ready to reach the big leagues. Foremost right now is allowing the bone to heal in his left hand.

Marisnick broke his hand after being plunked on the back of his left hand by a Trevor Rosenthal fastball in an game against St. Louis.

Joe Frisaro

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