MIAMI -- The Marlins might be shutting down Jose Fernandez on Wednesday, but the organization likely will get their All-Star back in a meaningful game late next March.
Miami's 21-year-old sensation has assumed the role of ace, and barring something unforeseen, the hard-throwing right-hander will take the mound on Opening Day in 2014.
We now know when that will be.
Major League Baseball officially announced its 2014 schedule, and Miami is slated to open against the Rockies at Marlins Park on March 31.
The Marlins will get an immediate test against the Rockies, facing them four times in their opening seven-game homestand, which also includes three games with the Padres (April 4-6).
With a youthful squad that has certainly endured its share of growing pains this year, the Marlins are expected to be improved and more experienced in 2014. The team is expected to feature slugger Giancarlo Stanton and rising talents like Christian Yelich.
Fernandez, an All-Star in his rookie season, has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise.
A first-round pick in 2011, Fernandez made the leap from Class A ball to the big leagues this year, and he has already established himself as one of the top pitchers in the game.
But because of his inexperience, the Marlins placed an innings limit range of 170 on Fernandez, who will reach that in his final start of 2013 on Wednesday against the Braves.
Marlins fans may not be able to see Fernandez pitch through the end of this month, but he has already shown enough to become the clear-choice frontrunner to start the opener next year.
After their first homestand, the Marlins take to the road for six games, starting off with three in Washington (April 8-10) before heading to Philadelphia.
In terms of Interleague Play, the Marlins will face the American League West.
Seattle will be Miami's first Interleague opponent, coming to Marlins Park on April 18-20.
Tampa Bay will head to Miami for a two-game portion of the Citrus Series on June 2-3. And the Oakland A's will be at Marlins Park from June 27-29.
The Texas Rangers make a rare visit to South Florida, appearing Aug. 19-20.
The Marlins' away Interleague schedule will start at Tampa Bay on June 4-5. Like 2013, the Marlins and Rays will play four straight nights in two cities.
Miami also will travel to Texas to take on the Rangers for two games on June 10-11.
The Marlins' final road Interleague games will be in Los Angeles, Aug. 25-27. Miami's trip to Los Angeles will follow three games in Colorado on Aug. 22-24.
Next year will be the Marlins' third season at Marlins Park, and their home schedule will conclude with three games against the Phillies (Sept. 23-25).
The Marlins season concludes on the road, at Washington for three games (Sept. 26-28).