Manager Mike Redmond on Saturday named Fernandez the Marlins' starter for their first Grapefruit League game, when they visit the Cardinals on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium. St. Louis is going with Carlos Martinez.
Fernandez is not expected to throw more than two innings.
The reigning National League Rookie of the Year, Fernandez comes off a stellar 12-6 season in which he posted a 2.19 ERA. Due to an innings limit, he was shut down after he beat the Braves on Sept. 11 at Marlins Park. His season came to a halt after 172 2/3 innings.
The Marlins have yet to officially announce Fernandez as their Opening Day starter, but that is considered a formality. The club will likely relax the right-hander's innings limit in his sophomore season. It could approach 200, but the team will remain careful.
"Innings-wise, we'll wait and see how he does, and how that goes as we get further along in the season," Redmond said. "But we treat all our young pitchers the same way. We try to protect those guys and keep them as fresh as we can throughout the course of the year."
Fernandez's pitch counts per game likely will be about the same, in the 110 range.
"It's like with every young guy, we're going to take care of him," Redmond said. "We'll see how things go in spring, as far as how built up he will be. Pitch count-wise, he will stay about the same. We're going to take care of him early."
The Marlins open their exhibition season on Wednesday against the University of Miami in Jupiter. Angel Sanchez, acquired from the Dodgers last July in the Ricky Nolasco trade, will get the nod against the Hurricanes.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter