Marlins to show patience with Jose

MIAMI — Building up throwing from 30 feet to 45 feet, and upwards to 60, 90, 120 and beyond are the first steps in Jose Fernandez’s recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Getting back to being game-ready will be a slow, deliberate process. From all indications, Fernandez and the Marlins are prepared to be patient. No sense rushng anything, and risking a setback.

Fernandez understands he is likely looking at being back in 14 months, or around the All-Star Break. If he is back earlier, and pitching at a high level with no signs of discomfort, the better.

But in all likelihood, the best case scenario seems to be Miami having Fernandez for the second half of 2015. Even then, expect the club to be ready to handle with care.

Even at full strength, Fernandez will be closely monitored. Expect the Marlins to have him on limitations, meaning, he could be coming out of games around the fifth or sixth innings to start off.

The Marlins won’t look at Fernandez back on the mound as meaning he is prepared to throw 115 pitches and grind out eight innings. Chances are he will be on a pitch count and some sort of innings limit.

Understanding where they are with their 22-year-old ace, the Marlins’ top priority this offseason will be looking for a front-line starting pitcher. Sure, they could use a power bat, and will look to find one.

But make no mistake, this is a franchise that believes in building around starting pitching. They feel Henderson Alvarez can assume the role of ace, and that Jarred Cosart can be a solid No. 3. Nathan Eovaldi, Tom Koehler both logged more than 190 innings, an important statistic in their respective development. They are both in the rotation mix.

Still, the objective will be to find either an ace or No. 2-caliber starter to help bridge the gap until Fernandez returns.

If they can accomplish that, it will make it easier for Miami to use Fernandez economically.

Joe Frisaro

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