Miami remains hopeful Jose Fernandez will pitch again in 2015. Fernandez has been on the disabled list with a right biceps injury, but according to Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald, the Marlins believe Fernandez could return by the middle of September.
Sitting in fourth place within the National League East, the Marlins have no clear reason to rush Fernandez back to make a few starts before the end of the season. Factoring into the decision could be Miami's current lack of starting pitching depth.
Henderson Alvarez's season ended as a result of a shoulder injury, David Phelps and Kendry Flores are currently on the DL, Mat Latos and Dan Haren have been moved and the Marlins have been forced to turn to both young prospects and veterans as a result. Justin Nicolino has pitched well but the organization is monitoring the number of innings he throws this season. Chris Narveson struggled in a spot start on Wednesday night. Tom Koehler has been the only constant within Miami's starting rotation.
The Marlins opened the season without Fernandez in the starting rotation as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He tossed over 24 minor league frames before returning and had success over seven starts. Fernandez pitched to a 2.30 ERA and 1.73 FIP over 43.0 innings with the Marlins before going down.
Spencer adds Marlins Manager Dan Jennings said Fernandez's Thursday bullpen session was a "wow." Such a comment likely indicates Fernandez's velocity was up and he has command of both his fastball and off speed pitches. But Jennings has also rightfully said there is no need to rush Fernandez back.
Miami is expected to be active throughout the upcoming offseason and a healthy Fernandez will be crucial for the 2016 Marlins. The club plans to add controllable starting pitching and additional offense and adding Fernandez to an upper tier rotation will likely prove to be beneficial.
If Fernandez is healthy by the middle of September, the Marlins can evaluate him over the final few weeks of the season. But there is no hurry and not much value in a late return.