Touki Toussaint reflected on his relationship with Jose Fernández, the Miami Marlins pitcher who died in a boating accident in 2016, ahead of facing the New York Yankees on Tuesday, according to MLB.com.
Toussaint, a right-handed pitcher who starred at Coral Springs Christian Academy, struck out nine in a start against the Blue Jays last week.
MLB reported Toussaint and Fernández became friends when Hugo “Juice” Tandron, the well-known barber who set up shop at Marlins Park on game days, cut their hair.
A family friend later gave Toussaint access to the stadium, according to MLB.com.
“I sat there and just talked to [Fernández)] for about three or four hours before he went to get ready,” said Tousssaint, according to MLB.com. “After that, it just kicked off. I’d go to all of the batting practices and talk to him.”
Toussaint said it was hard to swallow when he learned of Fernández’s passing in late September 2016.
He recalled Fernández told him when he was entering his senior season at Coral Springs Christian Academy as a 17-year-old, “it’s your turn,” according to MLB.com.
That motivational phrase led Toussaint to MLB, where he was the scheduled starter at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.