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Fernandez named NL Rookie of the Month

Young right-hander posted 3-1 record, 2.06 ERA through five starts

MIAMI -- Marlins starter Jose Fernandez was named the National League's Rookie of the Month on Monday for the first time. He was also named the NL Co-Player of the Week on July 29, sharing the award with teammate and Miami closer Steve Cishek.

Fernandez was one of the most productive rookie hurlers in the Majors in five July starts, posting a 3-1 record with a 2.06 ERA -- the lowest among qualified rookie pitchers (minimum of 27 innings).

Marlins manager Mike Redmond made a case on Saturday for Fernandez to be recognized with the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

"He should be; I'm biased," Redmond said. "I've watched this kid over the course of the year. I can't imagine there being a better rookie than him."

The highest point of Fernandez's stellar month was his July 28 outing against the Pirates. Facing fellow top prospect Gerrit Cole, Fernandez surrendered two runs on five hits in eight innings against Pittsburgh, striking out what was then a career-high 13 batters without any walks.

Fernandez joined Gary Nolan (15 strikeouts, 1967), Dwight Gooden (two 16-strikeout games, 1984) and Kerry Wood (20 strikeouts, 1998) as the only pitchers younger than 21 to strike out 13 batters or more without a walk in a single game.

"I knew that this was kind of a statement game for him," Redmond said. "He knew he was going up against another solid pitcher, and that he wanted to outdo him. And he did. He pitched great."

Fernandez also made history on July 16 during a perfect inning of relief in the All-Star Game. He retired MLB homer leader Chris Davis and former American League Most Valuable Player Award winners Dustin Pedroia and Miguel Cabrera.

With the strikeouts of Pedroia and Davis, Fernandez joined Gooden and Hall of Famer Bob Feller as the only hurlers younger than 21 to record two or more strikeouts in an All-Star Game.

"I know they can hit the ball," Fernandez said of the All-Stars he faced. "I was just trying to make good pitches and not overdo stuff."

Although Fernandez has made only one start this month, he is already building a case for August honors. He bested his July gem on Friday, striking out 14 batters in eight shutout innings against the Indians.

"He's not afraid to be great," Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison said. "He loves the stage and really wants to be great. I know that's weird. ... He's a bulldog, dude, and I'm glad he's on my team."

Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for
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