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Mattingly optimistic about rotation options

Marlins manager enthused by potential, despite lack of depth
Special to MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- There have been critics who claim the Marlins didn't do enough during the offseason to bolster the starting rotation. But manager Don Mattingly is perfectly fine with what he has to work with.

"I feel OK with it," Mattingly said. "I know a lot of people have kind of questioned it."

JUPITER, Fla. -- There have been critics who claim the Marlins didn't do enough during the offseason to bolster the starting rotation. But manager Don Mattingly is perfectly fine with what he has to work with.

"I feel OK with it," Mattingly said. "I know a lot of people have kind of questioned it."

That's putting it mildly. Nevertheless, the Marlins did make some moves, most notably signing free-agent veteran Edinson Volquez, a player Mattingly is quite familiar with since he played with the Dodgers during Mattingly's tenure in Los Angeles. The Marlins manager likes what he sees in the veteran and is glad to have him back.

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"He's been through a lot," Mattingly said. "This is a guy with Cincinnati, the top-line guy; he's pitched in a Wild Card Game with Pittsburgh, now he's pitched in the World Series [with Kansas City], he's been an Opening Day starter.

"He gives us a guy who's been there."

In addition, Mattingly is pleased with the progress and potential from the remainder of the arms he has on staff.

"You've got Dan Straily, who kind of came into his own last year," Mattingly said. "Wei-Yin Chen, we feel like is going to bounce back. Tom Koehler is another guy we think is an experienced guy and adding to his mix all the time. And Adam Conley we think is on the way.

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"So that's five guys right there, not including Jose Urena, and [Justin] Nicolino, and Jeff Locke, and other guys fighting possibly for that other spot."

While Mattingly is satisfied with the arms vying for spots in the starting rotation, that doesn't mean there aren't still some concerns.

"Obviously the depth, we don't have Jose (Fernandez) at the top of your rotation," Mattingly said. "You don't have that No. 1 guy that you say, 'Hey, this guy can match up with anybody.' So, that's the one thing that we don't really look at. But overall, as a group, I think they're going to be good."

Added bullpen depth factors into the equation as well. Mattingly said talk continues of the possibility of using an eight-man bullpen.

"We're going to be willing to not necessarily worry if that [starter] goes out for the fifth or the sixth [inning]," Mattingly said. "We'd rather see them come out sprinting as a starter, go as long and as hard as they can go, and then we go from there."

Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com.