For Miami Marlins rookie phenom Jose Fernandez, the end is near.
The Marlins on Saturday said that Fernandez will make two more starts and then will be shut down for the remainder of the season. The organization also made it clear that Fernandez could no more than a combined 12 innings between the two starts.
MLB.com points out that Fernandez will likely split the 12 inning limit directly in half over the two starts. If Fernandez pitches six innings in his next start, his final outing of the season will come on September 11 at Marlins Park against the Atlanta Braves.
Once Fernandez was promoted, the Marlins said that he would pitch between 150 and 170 innings. Manager Mike Redmond reportedly said Saturday that Fernandez has a firm maximum limit of 170 and will not go over it. Thus far, Fernandez has pitched 158 2/3 innings in 2013, and if he pitches six innings over his final two starts as expected, he will finish the season with 170 2/3 innings pitched.
"That was the range as an organization that we felt comfortable leaving him around, depending on how many starts he did," Redmond said in an interview with MLB.com. "It was kind of the unknown at the beginning of the season, how he would do and how he would perform. We were looking at ways to protect him, based on how many innings he had gone before. That's the number we came up with."
Fernandez's next start was scheduled to be Wednesday on the road against the Cubs. However, the Marlins adjusted the rotation so that he will make his final two starts at home.
A September callup, possibly Brian Flynn, Brad Hand or Sam Dyson, is expected to make the Wednesday's start in Chicago.
Fernandez will make his next start on Friday night against the Nationals at Marlins Park.
During his last outing, a 2-1 loss to the Braves in Atlanta, Fernandez became the Marlins' rookie strikeout leader after striking out eight Braves.
On the season, Fernandez is 10-6 with a 2.33 ERA in 26 starts and has made a case to be a National League Rookie of The Year candidate.