In a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night at Marlins Park, Jose Fernandez further proved why he is a top Rookie of The Year candidate, pitching seven innings and only giving up one run en route to earning his 12th win of the season.
However, it wasn't Fernandez's performance on the mound that got the rookie starter in a bench-clearing brawl. It was the way he ran the bases after hitting his first major league home run that angered Braves catcher Brian McCann.
Following Wednesday night's bench and bullpen-clearing confrontation, Fernandez acknowledged that he made a mistake and hopes to learn from it in the future.
"I like the emotion. The energy and all the stuff he brings to the ballpark, I think it's great," manager Mike Redmond said in an interview with MLB.com. "But it's a fine line, too, how you show that emotion. I think his excitement, and the way he is as a teammate and the way he competes, that's great. It's just a fine line in the big leagues in how you show your emotion, and how you act and conduct yourself on the mound."
Admitting that he was wrong, Fernandez met with McCann and pitcher Mike Minor after the game. Both Minor and McCann felt that the rookie took his time around the bases.
Though he apologized, Fernandez said on Thursday that he is not going who he is or how he approaches a start or an at-bat.
"I'm going to keep being who I am," Fernandez said. "That's what got me here. It was a little mistake. I talked to some of the players I needed to apologize to, McCann and Minor. I think everything is good. I'm going to keep doing what I do, and hopefully, I get better."
Fernandez, who ended the year with a 2.19 ERA and .181 batting average against, didn't feel he crossed the line after picking up his first MLB homer. Evan Gattis reportedly stared out at Fernandez following his home run, and Fernandez said Chris Johnson "had words" with him which led to the incident.
Miami first baseman Logan Morrison said he doesn't believe "Jose should have been sold out the way he was sold out."
"I didn't realize the full effect of what happened last night," Morrison said. "Jose needs to calm it down still, but I don't feel he is fully in the wrong with what he did. I feel like they did some things to him that went unnoticed that need to be addressed and will be addressed."
Fernandez has been a bright spot for the Marlins, but Redmond believes that there may still be certain parts of his game he needs to look at.
"I haven't seen anybody quite like that," Redmond said. "He likes to have fun with guys on the other team, but he's a fierce competitor. That might be a part of his game that maybe he needs to look at, and maybe try to do differently. That's part of his youth."
More from Fish Stripes:
- NL Rookie of the Year Power Rankings: Final Jose Fernandez edition
- Marlins vs. Braves: Jose Fernandez home run scuffle ruined a great moment
- 2014 MLB Schedule: Miami Marlins to open versus Colorado Rockies, face AL West in interleague play
- Miami Marlins video: Jose Fernandez's first career home run and the Marlins-Braves brawl
- NL Rookie of the Year: Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, and the popularity contest