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With the end of the Grapefruit League in sight, Miami manager Don Mattingly must decide who will become the team's fifth starter

With the end of the Grapefruit League in sight, Miami manager Don Mattingly must decide who will become the team's fifth starter

While the Miami Marlins have announced who their first for starters will be in their pitching rotation, there is still competition for the fifth and final spot. What was supposed to be a battle between Jeff Locke and Jose Urena to fill that role, has become a three-horse race between Urena, Adam Conley, and Justin Nicolino. There is no word when manager Don Mattingly may make his final decision.

Of the three pitchers in contention, the two who do not make the rotation, figure to be set up men in a relief role.

"You really just look at both guys, and also Nico in there," Mattingly said. "How do you put these guys in the best position and put us in the best position?"

Urena is in a different situation than both Conley and Nicolino. Both of them have minor league options while he does not. So it makes sense the 25-man roster would include him, because he would have to clear waivers for Miami retain his services and that may not be likely. The way he threw on Friday, there is little chance another club well I have some through waivers. Claiming him and either using him as a starter or in their bullpen. Through 14 innings this spring training season, he has struck out 15 batters.


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