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Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez ready to return

By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez. UPI/Rob Cornforth
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Jose Fernandez. UPI/Rob Cornforth | License Photo

MIAMI -- Things just got worse for the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals, the run-away favorites in the National League East at the start of the season, trail the surprising New York Mets in the division by seven games. The Mets on Wednesday completed a three-game sweep at Washington.

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Now the Nationals travel, starting on Friday, to face the lowly Miami Marlins, which should be a break for Washington ... except that Jose Fernandez will start against the Nationals on Saturday.

Fernandez, who is 15-0 with a 1.14 ERA in his career at Marlins Park, will be making his first appearance since recovering from a biceps strain.

"He threw the ball very well," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said of Fernandez's bullpen session on Wednesday. "Looks like all systems are go."

Jennings said that every step along the way "is a test" for Fernandez, and the next one is Saturday against Washington.

Unfortunately for the Nationals, they will get to face Fernandez at home, where he has been unbeatable and virtually unhittable.

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"They're in a battle," Jennings said of the Nationals' effort to catch the Mets. "I'm sure they're ready for whoever goes out there. They have to be ready to play."

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