Fernandez on his recent surgery, supporting teammates

WASHINGTON -- The rehabilitation process for Jose Fernandez is about to begin.

Fernandez, the Marlins' ace, had his cast and stitches removed on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and now his road to recovery is about to begin.

The 21-year-old had Tommy John surgery on May 16 in Los Angeles. The procedure was performed by Dodgers physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Fernandez on Monday night took to Twitter to remind everyone that he was heading to Los Angeles.

Fernandez Tweeted: "Flying to LA tomorrow to FINALLY get my cast and stitches removed! Wednesday starts the rehab. One step at a time will get me back on the mound. #JDF16"

Recommended recovery time from Tommy John surgery is 12 to 18 months. Fernandez said recently that he intends to follow the medical recommendations. There is a general feeling that he will miss 13 to 14 months.

The timetable to begin throwing a baseball is in mid-September.

"I know he was going to get stitches out," manager Mike Redmond said. "I'm sure everything is fine. The process is going well."

Furcal set to begin rehab assignment on Thursday

Rafael Furcal has been on the DL with a right groin strain.

WASHINGTON -- While Jose Fernandez was in Los Angeles getting his cast and stitches removed, second baseman Rafael Furcal is moving closer to game action in Jupiter, Fla.

Furcal will begin his rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter on Thursday.

The 36-year-old opened the season on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. But while on a rehab assignment in late April at Double-A Jacksonville, Furcal strained his right groin.

"Hopefully, he will continue to progress," Redmond said. "We've been down that road before. So hopefully this time he's good, feels good and gets healthy."

As a position player, Furcal is eligible to have up to 20 rehab assignment games.

"We didn't really talk about how many games," Redmond said. "But it's just like we talked about earlier when he starts coming back. He's got to be able to show his legs can play multiple days in a row and he can feel good and be able to run. That's the biggest thing."

Redmond: Stanton belongs in MVP conversation

MIA@WSH: Stanton hits a monster homer to center field

WASHINGTON -- Across the board on the stats sheet, Giancarlo Stanton ranks among the league leaders.

The 24-year-old is making a strong case to be a starter for the National League in the 2014 All-Star Game on July 15 in Minneapolis. The first round of NL voting results will be announced on Wednesday.

Not only is Stanton playing at an All-Star level, he is elevating his game to MVP status.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond says there is no doubt Stanton belongs in the MVP conversation.

"Absolutely," Redmond said. "I think the scary thing is he's still improving at becoming a hitter at the Major League level. He's gotten so much better from last year to this year, in terms of pitch recognition and hitting pitches in the strike zone and his approach and all that stuff."

Stanton entered Tuesday pacing the Majors in RBIs (49), and he was tops in the NL in home runs with 15.

The slugger also was tied for third in the NL in runs scored (37), tied for fourth in hits (62), ninth in batting average (.316), sixth in on-base percentage (.404) and second in slugging percentage (.622).

"He's still a young guy," Redmond said. "He's still a young Major League hitter. And that's scary to think about and what he's been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. There's still room to get better. When he continues to swing at strikes and gets pitches and gets into favorable counts ... wow, watch out. As much damage as he's doing now, he could do even more damage."