Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and manager Mike Redmond spoke with Anthony Castrovince for a Sports On Earth piece about the 23-year-old Fernandez’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Fernandez says that he’s become close with NL East rival and fellow Tommy John victim Matt Harvey, who made his season debut for the Mets today (and dominated the Nationals). The two aces have discussed the rehab process, with Fernandez checking in to compare their rehab cycles. Fernandez has replaced a borderline ridiculous offseason cycling program — he used to cycle up to 600 miles per week, Castrovince notes — in favor of bulking up to add muscle and hopefully avoid further injuries to his arm. Redmond is pleased with the amount of time Fernandez is spending on the bench and with his teammates, always looking to learn, improve and ready his mind for the day he returns to the mound.
Elsewhere in the NL East…
- Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano, who signed a four-year, $7.5MM deal with the Braves this winter, has arrived in the U.S. and is working with Major League Baseball to establish residency, reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. While there’s no timeline on how long that will take, Bowman notes that it’s one of the final hurdles Toscano needs to clear before beginning his Braves career. Bowman adds that Toscano could emerge as a backup outfield option in Atlanta as soon as this season.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports feels that the belief that the Braves’ farm system had become unproductive under the previous front office was misguided. Rosenthal looks at the number of players that had graduated to the Majors, pointing to them as evidence that the system continued to churn out quality talent. Aside from the team’s major trades of Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel, Rosenthal finds other player personnel decisions questionable, highlighting the risk involved in acquiring Manny Banuelos and the decision to leave former top prospect J.R. Graham unprotected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft.
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson tells Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he doesn’t instruct manager Terry Collins on how to construct his lineup, despite recent media speculation that the opposite is true. Alderson said that much like Collins offers input on roster moves but the front office has final say, he will offer input on lineup decisions, but Collins has final say.