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Marlins to shut down Fernandez after two more starts

Marlins to shut down Fernandez after two more starts

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ATLANTA -- At last, there is a more clear shutdown date for Jose Fernandez.

The energized Marlins rookie will make two more starts, and they won't combine for more than 12 total innings.

Barring a short outing, look for the 21-year-old to go six innings in each of those games, meaning his last start tentatively will be Sept. 11 at home against Atlanta.

Manager Mike Redmond said on Saturday afternoon that Fernandez is looking at a firm innings maximum of 170 innings. Actually, it will be 170 2/3 innings, because right now he is at 158 2/3 innings.

Redmond also added that Fernandez will not pitch on the road, which he would have against the Cubs on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Instead, he is being pushed back a couple of days to Friday, Sept. 6, at Marlins Park. Fernandez will face the Nationals that day.

Miami hasn't announced who will pitch at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, but it is expected to be a September callup. Brad Hand and Brian Flynn are candidates who are at Triple-A New Orleans.

Fernandez's expected season finale is lined up to be against the Braves.

Before the season, the Marlins made it clear Fernandez would be on an innings limit range between 150-170.

"That was the range as an organization that we felt comfortable leaving him around, depending on how many starts he did," Redmond said. "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 comes off a tough 2-1 loss to the Braves on Friday night, his first loss since July 7. In six innings, he allowed two runs on three hits with eight strikeouts.

A strong National League Rookie of the Year candidate, Fernandez is 10-6 with a 2.33 ERA in 26 starts. He set the Marlins rookie record for strikeouts in a season, which is now 173.

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

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