JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Miami manager Don Mattingly has a simple goal for his starting rotation in 2017.
“You ask them to keep you in games and give us a chance to win that night,” Mattingly said.
The death of Jose Fernandez in a boating accident last September left the Marlins with a huge hole to fill in that rotation.
Miami signed Edinson Volquez and traded for Dan Straily, both righties, during the offseason. They will make the first two starts of the season for Miami at Washington next week.
Mattingly tabbed Volquez, entering his 13th big league season, for the opening day start because of his experience.
“He’s been through a lot,” Mattingly said. “That day is kind of weird. There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of energy. There’s a lot of emotion and he’s been through it so I knew he would probably feed off the energy better than most guys.”
Volquez made two starts for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. In five Grapefruit League appearances, three starts, Volquez was 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA.
Straily duplicated Volquez’s spring record, doing so with a 4.58 spring ERA. Straily is 27-21 with a 4.24 ERA across five major league seasons, with 14 of those wins coming last year for Cincinnati.
Tom Koehler is slotted third in the rotation. He threw three innings of relief for Miami in Saturday’s Grapefruit League finale against Detroit, allowing one run on four hits.
Koehler piggy-backed on Wei-Yin Chen’s Saturday start. Chen, last year’s opening day starter for Miami, gets the fourth start, when the Marlins travel to the New York Mets on Friday.
Against Detroit Chen allowed his first earned run of the spring that didn’t come via a solo home run. Chen surrendered only that one run on four hits and two walks in three innings against the Tigers.
“There’s still some little things I need to work more but overall I think I’m ready for the season,” Chen said through a translator.
Adam Conley won the fifth spot in the rotation, beating out Jose Urena. Conley allowed four runs in two of his first four spring outings, none lasting more than three innings, but shut out Washington and Detroit over a combined seven innings in his final two starts.
“I’m confident in my stuff,” Conley said.
Urena will be one of eight relievers the Marlins keep on their opening day roster. Having eight rather than seven in the bullpen is a nod to the notion that Miami intends to rely heavily on that `pen.
“The fact that we’re going with eight guys really is an added layer of protection as far as protecting our guys back there,” Mattingly said. “We’ll hopefully be able to keep guys in the right position, not have your back-end guys throw meaningless innings, or as few as possible.”
Miami breaks camp with one remaining roster spot to officially announce. Tyler Moore is expected to be the Marlins fourth outfielder and a right-handed hitting option at first base. Non-roster invitees Brandon Barnes and Matt den Dekker remained in camp through Saturday’s game.
Miami defeated Detroit 3-2 in the finale to end Grapefruit League play with a 13-17-5 record.
“I feel confident with our club. I trust these guys that we’re ready to go and that they’ll be ready,” Mattingly said. “That’s a good thing for a manager — to feel like you trust your club. I can say that.”
Marlins CF Christian Yelich was a late scratch from Saturday’s spring finale because of tightness in his legs. “I’m fine,” Yelich said. “I just had trouble getting loose today. There’s not a reason to really push it for three innings. I’m good to go.” … Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced that his pitching rotation will be ordered: Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris, Michael Fulmer and Matthew Boyd.