Marlins give ball to free agent signee while team decides the rest of its rotation

Edinson Volquez will start the Miami Marlins first spring training game against St. Louis on Saturday

The Miami Marlins have announced that Edinson Volquez will get the nod on Saturday when the team opens its spring training schedule against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Volquez was one of the team’s prized free agent acquisitions this offseason.

The move by Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly could also be a sign the Volquez will get the ball in the team’s season opener.

Per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the 33-year-old right-hander signed a two-year, $22 million deal with the Marlins in December, brought in to add experience at the top of the rotation. Tom Koehler is also lined up to pitch an inning.

"We'll have a number of guys backing up," manager Don Mattingly said.

Volquez will go at least one, maybe two frames. It depends on how the game shapes up.

"I've been throwing live BP, like 34 pitches, so I should be good," Volquez said. "I'm pretty healthy. I feel good. I'm getting close to the guys I didn't know before."

The Marlins are still attempting to put together their rotation with Adam Conley, Tom Koehler, Wei-Yin Chen and Jeff Locke all competing for the five luck spots. The odd man out will be moved to the bullpen. The Marlins travel to Fort Myers on Monday to face the Twins. Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino are scheduled to pitch. On Tuesday, at Roger Dean Stadium against the Mets, Wei-Yin Chen is the likely starter.

Mattingly has not announced his Opening Day starter, but Volquez is a strong candidate. The veteran started the Royals' opener in 2016 after being part of Kansas City's World Series championship club in 2015.

Volquez was signed as an amateur free agent by the Texas Rangers in the Dominican Republic in 2001.

After spending four years in the Rangers' minor league system, Volquez made his Major League debut on August 30, 2005 in a start against the Chicago White Sox. He lost all three Major League games he started that season, as well as one of the three games in which he appeared as a reliever, and posted a 14.21 ERA. He spent the first five months of the 2006 season with the Oklahoma RedHawks of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League until he was recalled to the majors in September. This time, he fared better, winning one of his eight starts and posting a 7.29 ERA.

He has also played for the Red, Padres, Dodgers and Pirates before signing with Kansas City.


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