MIAMI -- Seeing Jose Fernandez at Marlins Park on Tuesday must have been bittersweet

for his teammates.

It was surely nice for them to see the popular, happy-go-lucky 21-year-old who had

quickly established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

But it was also difficult knowing it will be 12 to 18 months before he will be back

on a Marlins Park mound, where he was unbeatable -- 12-0 in his brief career to date.

On Tuesday, Fernandez talked about feeling "a little pinch" in his pitching elbow on

May 4 against Los Angeles.

"Pitchers feel that all the time when they throw hard stuff," he said.

For that reason and also because he did not want to stop pitching, Fernandez said

nothing to his teammates, coaches or doctors. But he contradicted himself a bit when he

said he went into his May 9 start in San Diego knowing he was not 100 percent.

Asked why he didn't let the Marlins know he wasn't 100 percent before the San Diego

start, Fernandez said it was "because we were in first place."

Fernandez no doubt wanted to help his team, but if he could have prevented surgery by

notifying team doctors, then he hurt the Marlins instead.

When asked if he had learned anything from what he has endured, Fernandez was all

over the place once again.

"Hopefully, I will learn from it," he said, "but I'm still happy with my decision.

"I don't regret not saying anything. I think that was my call. It probably wasn't the

smartest thing. But this is my team, and I give my life to my team. That was the right

call."