JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Hours before taking the mound Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Jose Fernandez crossed paths with manager Mike Redmond in the Miami Marlins clubhouse.
"Are you ready?" Redmond said.
"You don't even have to ask," Fernandez replied.
It was only February, but the precocious right-hander pitched with the eager enthusiasm he showed last year, when he was the NL Rookie of the Year. Fernandez struck out two in two scoreless innings to help Miami beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in the spring training opener for both teams.
"He doesn't care whether it's a regular-season game or a spring training game," Redmond said. "He just can't wait to get out there."
Fernandez pitched around his own error and was helped by a diving catch by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton to rob Allen Craig of a hit. Fernandez allowed a single by designated hitter Yadier Molina and an infield hit by Shane Robinson.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez went three innings and allowed two runs, both coming when Garrett Jones homered in his first at-bat with the Marlins.
Matt Adams and Peter Bourjos had RBI singles for St. Louis, the defending NL champions. Patrick Wisdom hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
Marlins: Before the game, Fernandez crossed out an illustration of the Cardinals mascot on the message board in the team's clubhouse. Underneath he wrote "muerto" — Spanish for "death."
"I don't like anybody who's not on my team when I'm playing baseball," Fernandez said.
He threw 23 strikes in 32 pitches. What was he working on?
"Not giving up any runs. Very important," he said. "I felt good out there and was happy to be back on the mound."