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Conley relying on grit in rotation battle

Left-hander showing resilience early in spring, getting better as he settles in
Special to MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After a rough fourth inning Sunday, left-hander Adam Conley showed the kind of resilience that he hopes will land him a spot in the Marlins' rotation.

Conley allowed four of the first five batters he faced to reach base in a 5-2 loss to the Braves on Sunday. Freddie Freeman hit an RBI double to the gap in left-center and Nick Markakis added an RBI single.

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After a rough fourth inning Sunday, left-hander Adam Conley showed the kind of resilience that he hopes will land him a spot in the Marlins' rotation.

Conley allowed four of the first five batters he faced to reach base in a 5-2 loss to the Braves on Sunday. Freddie Freeman hit an RBI double to the gap in left-center and Nick Markakis added an RBI single.

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Conley then fired an errant pickoff throw to allow Markakis to advance to second before walking Ronald Acuna with one out, but he buckled down and retired Charlie Culberson and Dansby Swanson to end the inning.

Conley retired eight of the last 10 batters he faced, and escaped potential trouble in the sixth when he got Markakis to ground into a double play. He gave up six hits and two runs in three innings to bring his spring ERA to 5.40.

"I thought he was pretty good the last two innings," acting manager Tim Wallach said. "He elevated the ball to Freeman and Markakis and they don't miss those very often. When he's locating down he's pretty tough."

Around the horn
Isan Diaz had an RBI single in the eighth inning, and the Marlins had two runners in scoring position with the tying run at the plate, but catcher Bryan Holaday was robbed of a hit on a sharp liner to first.

Holaday, however, did get his first hit of the spring with a solo home run off Anyelo Gomez in the seventh inning.

Video: MIA@ATL: Holaday rips a solo homer in the 7th

"We gave ourselves a chance at the end," Wallach said. "We had a couple opportunities we didn't take advantage of, but overall I'm pretty happy with the kids, they kept battling at the end there. Obviously the guys that started the game ... we got them out of there a little early to get back on the road."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Brian Ellington's first spring outing was one to forget as the right-hander threw eight pitches -- all balls -- and left after facing two batters in the bottom of the seventh inning. Both runners eventually scored.

Position battles
• Outfielder Braxton Lee, who is looking for a spot on the 25-man roster for Opening Day, got the start in right field and went 1-for-2 with a single in the fifth inning.

Lee hit .309 with a .395 on-base percentage with Double-A Montgomery and Double-A Jacksonville last year. He is hitting .267 in nine games this spring.

Garrett Cooper started at first base and went 0-for-2. Cooper is expected to back up Justin Bour at first, and also get some time in the outfield. He is hitting .182 this spring.

Injury report
Wallach said he hopes outfielder Cameron Maybin will be back in the lineup Monday after missing the weekend games with tightness in his Achilles.

"I haven't heard anything about how it went today, I know he was going to do some things today," Wallach said. "We're just being careful more than anything else. He's one of those guys we want with us the whole time when [the season] starts."

Up next
The Marlins will play the Astros in a Grapefruit League game Monday in West Palm Beach, Fla., at 1:05 p.m ET. Left-hander Dillon Peters will take the mound for the Marlins against Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

Ralph Long is a contributor to MLB.com.

Miami Marlins, Adam Conley