Righty Tom Koehler named Marlins’ No. 5 starter
JUPITER, Fla. — Marlins manager Mike Redmond officially announced the starting rotation heading into the season following Thursday’s 6-4 win over the Cardinals.
Reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez will pitch Opening Day followed by right-handers Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler.
Miami’s pitching staff entered Thursday with the second-lowest ERA (3.52) in the NL this spring. It posted a franchise-low 3.71 ERA in 2013.
"I’m excited," Redmond said. "Jose’s obviously our main guy and our starting Opening Day pitcher. The other guys are young guys with arms. I know everyone makes a big deal where they all fall in line, but really after Opening Day it doesn’t matter. It’s guys’ jobs to go out there and keep us in ballgames. For me it’s more of a battle to get into the rotation, and that’s really what we saw."
The first four starters were all but official. The fifth spot, however, was up for grabs entering spring training.
Koehler, who will start Saturday’s exhibition against the Yankees, is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in five games (four starts) this spring. He finished last season as the fifth starter.
"When you work hard you want to be rewarded for it," Koehler said. "Now everything’s in the past and doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t carry over into the season."
Lefty Brad Hand started Thursday’s game against the Cardinals and pitched four scoreless two-hit innings.
Out of options, Hand will work out of the bullpen. He went 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in six appearances (five starts).
"I feel like I had a good spring. I accomplished everything," Hand said. "Threw the ball well besides the last outing before this one."
Non-roster invitee Kevin Slowey won the fifth-starter job last spring in a similar situation, but will end up in the bullpen in long relief. He is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in five outings (two starts).
"Tommy Koehler, for me, and I know (pitching coach) Chuck (Hernandez), too, pitched great," Redmond said. "Brad Hand pitched well also and we’ll pitch and use him. He’s extended out out of the bullpen. He gives us another option as a long guy or possibly as a situational lefty as we get to it. We’re going to give him some opportunities and situations to see what he can do."