JUPITER, Fla. — Hours before taking the mound Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Jose Fernandez crossed paths with manager Mike Redmond in the Miami Marlins clubhouse.
"Are you ready?" Redmond said.
"You don't even have to ask," Fernandez replied.
It was only February, but the precocious right-hander pitched with the eager enthusiasm he showed last year, when he was the NL Rookie of the Year. Fernandez struck out two in two scoreless innings to help Miami beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in the spring training opener for both teams.
"He doesn't care whether it's a regular-season game or a spring training game," Redmond said. "He just can't wait to get out there."
Fernandez pitched around his own error and was helped by a diving catch by right fielder Giancarlo Stanton to rob Allen Craig of a hit. Fernandez allowed a single by designated hitter Yadier Molina and an infield hit by Shane Robinson.
Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez went three innings and allowed two runs, both coming when Garrett Jones homered in his first at-bat with the Marlins.
Matt Adams and Peter Bourjos had RBI singles for St. Louis, the defending NL champions. Patrick Wisdom hit a two-run homer in the ninth.
Marlins: Before the game, Fernandez crossed out an illustration of the Cardinals mascot on the message board in the team's clubhouse. Underneath he wrote "muerto" — Spanish for "death."
"I don't like anybody who's not on my team when I'm playing baseball," Fernandez said.
He threw 23 strikes in 32 pitches. What was he working on?
"Not giving up any runs. Very important," he said. "I felt good out there and was happy to be back on the mound."
Cardinals: Martinez hung a slider on the pitch Jones hit for a homer. Otherwise the right-hander was pleased with his efficiency after throwing 36 pitches, 25 for strikes.
"I felt pretty good," Martinez said. "All my pitches were working."
Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia returned to camp after receiving a cortisone shot in his sore left shoulder. He's expected to be out at least 10 days.
Reliever Jason Motte threw a bullpen session as he comes back from ligament replacement surgery in his elbow. Motte hopes to be ready for opening day.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny watched top outfield prospect Oscar Taveres run on Thursday and said his surgically-repaired ankle is still "not quite there." Matheny wants Taveras to be 100 percent before inserting him into a spring lineup.
Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez, recovering from a shin infection, played catch on the side. He's still a few days away from pitching in a game, manager Mike Redmond said.
HOLIDAY for HOLLIDAY
Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday sat out, and to avoid overworking the veteran, Matheny plans to ease him into games, perhaps as a DH Saturday. Free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta also had the day off.
Major League Baseball isn't scheduled to bring the replay system to Roger Dean Stadium until later this spring, but the Cardinals are already practicing for it. A video staffer was assigned to monitor the MLB Network broadcast of the opener and relay information about potential challenges to the dugout.