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26-year-old pitcher beats out Jose Urena for final spot in rotation

Adam Conley was named the fifth starter in the Miami Marlins' rotation this weekend. Conley beat out Jose Urena, who will work in long relief

The Miami Marlins have announced that Adam Conley has won the fifth spot in the rotation and that Jose Urena has made the team, moving to the bullpen in long relief.

Conley, a middle of the rotation starter last season, battled Urena, who is out of minor league options, and Justin Nicolino to secure his place on the staff.

Nicolino was sent to Class-AAA New Orleans earlier this week. The Marlins are taking a different approach to its pitching staff this season, opting to keep 13 arms on the 25-man roster.

Manager Don Mattingly made it official a few hours before the left-hander threw four shutout innings in a 7-1 win over the Tigers at Roger Dean Stadium.

Conley, who will make his first regular-season start on April 8 on the road against the New York Mets.

Conley was a fixture in the rotation in 2016, when he was 8-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 25 starts.

According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, in his final Spring Training appearance, Conley allowed one hit while striking out two and walking two, and his fastball, which had been in the 88-91 mph range most of spring, topped at 94 mph.

"Learned a lot this camp," Conley said. "It was kind of that progression coming on to the season. Obviously, you want to finish on a high note. For me, that's a good lineup with a lot of righties in it. Largely, I was able to do what I wanted to do. I commanded the fastball a lot better, commanded the changeup a lot better. Got ahead of guys, and that opens up the slider."

The Marlins open the 2017 season on Monday when they travel to Washington to face the Nationals. Edinson Volquez will be on the bump as Mattingly named the veteran free agent signee as the starter. The Marlins will also have Dan Straily, another new face in the rotation, to go along with returning starters Conley, Wei-Yin Chen and Tom Koehler.

Miami doesn’t have the dominant starter it did last season with Jose Fernandez on the hill. The hope is Volquez and the staff will remain competitive to get to the bullpen deep in the game. Conley is the youngest member of the rotation and 26 years old.

"I like everything about Adam, from the standpoint of his competitiveness, and he's not afraid of anything," Mattingly said. "He's going to go after people. He's looking to learn and get better. Those are the traits I like about Adam."


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