Marlins' Fernandez joins exclusive company in 40-something club

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While Jose Fernandez insists he's not back to his pre-injury form, the Miami Marlins right-hander is putting up numbers that haven't been seen in more than 40 years.

"I feel, I don't want to say like I was before, but I feel I've grown as a pitcher and a person," Hernandez said after an 11-strikeout effort in Wednesday's 5-3 victory at Arizona.

Hernandez allowed three runs over seven innings in his 40th career start - and fourth since returning from Tommy John surgery. That effort left the 22-year-old with a career 2.30 ERA, the third-lowest mark for a pitcher over his first 40 starts since 1920, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The last player to accomplish the feat was Vida Blue of the Oakland Athletics in 1971, when he won both the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards.

(h/t ESPN)

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports