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Fernandez impresses Hall of Famer Sutton

Fernandez impresses Hall of Famer Sutton

Fernandez impresses Hall of Famer Sutton

MIAMI -- Accolades keep piling up for Jose Fernandez.

A day after being named to the National League All-Star team, the Marlins rookie spent some time talking to Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton.

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Sutton, who pitched 23 years in the big leagues, is a Braves radio analyst who passed along some advice to Fernandez.

"He told me something really important," said Fernandez, who turns 21 on July 31. "He told me, 'Worry about one pitch at a time. Don't worry about throwing nine innings. Worry about throwing one pitch at a time. That's how you're going to be successful.'

"To hear it from that guy, who has been in the big leagues 23 years, that's incredible. Amazing things keep happening."

Fernandez is the youngest Marlins player ever selected to the All-Star Game. The rookie has tremendous passion for the game, and when he learned he was going to meet a Hall of Fame pitcher ...

"I looked up all his career numbers," Fernandez said. "I looked at everything. Incredible."

Sutton echoes the praise.

"I told him, make one good pitch, because that was Greg Maddux's philosophy," Sutton said. "He said, 'I don't try to win ballgames. I keep trying to make one good pitch.'

"I really enjoyed talking to Jose. I think he is an old soul pitching-wise. I think he has an awareness. I think the way we teach kids now, and the way we coach young kids, we stifle a lot of the little voice inside kids who know how to pitch and know how to hit when they're 12, 13 and 14. We stifle them with limitations and structure."

Fernandez defected from Cuba at age 15 and is in the big leagues five years later.

"No. 1, he's paid his dues as a human being," Sutton said. "You can't ask for anything more out of him. When you listen to him talk, I hear a young man with a 15-year veteran's passion for the game, with his discipline and his desire to be good. To me, that's refreshing.

"I've been watching him. I'll keep an eye on him because, obviously, I want my team to win. But I want anybody who has a passion and a love for our game to do well. So I will want him to have a great career. I told him, 'I hope you have as much fun playing this game as I did.'"

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less