Marlins' Fernandez thrilled to be an All-Star
Given his 2.72 ERA at the time, the news sounded like a joke -- which it was.
"I told her, `Hey, Mom, I'm kidding. I'm going to the All-Star Game," Fernandez said Monday. "She started crying."
Maritza Fernandez quickly forgave her son's high jinks, and she'll happily accompany him to the game in New York next week.
The 20-year-old was selected Saturday as the Marlins' representative. He said the trip will be a learning experience, and he'll be all ears in the National League clubhouse and dugout.
"I'm going to listen to those guys," he said. "They're the best in the game. Whatever they say must be good, because they're the best. I don't want to be the kid who goes to everybody asking questions; that's not the way I am. But I'm going to sit there and listen and learn as much as I can. Everything I get out of it is going to be good for my career."
The trip also offers a chance to augment his autograph collection.
"I'm bringing some bats, and hopefully I can get some balls, too, and have the whole team sign," he said. "It would be pretty amazing."
A Cuban defector who came to the United States at age 15, Fernandez ranks among the top three rookies in the majors in ERA (2.83) and strikeouts (99). He's 5-5 for a team with the worst record in the NL, and in seven starts since June 1 he has an ERA of 1.75.
Fernandez is scheduled to make his next start for the Marlins on Saturday. That means he would be available to pitch in the All-Star Game the following Tuesday.
"In my mind I'm thinking I'm going to pitch," he said. "One pitch, I hope, maybe one out, two outs -- whatever it is, I'm going to try to enjoy it."
The Marlins are expected to limit Fernandez to 170 innings this year, but if a couple of them come in the All-Star Game, that's fine with manager Mike Redmond.
"I want to see him pitch," Redmond said. "Are you kidding me? A 20-year-old All-Star? I hope they get him in there. It would be great. He's going to be on cloud nine, that's for sure. What an honor."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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