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Marlins prefer Jackson in rotation

Veteran right-hander offers flexibility as starter and reliever
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- Edwin Jackson will be competing for a rotation spot in Spring Training, but as a fallback, the 32-year-old right-hander could also serve in a long-relief role.

The Marlins have no shortage of pitchers in camp who could find themselves as candidates to start or pitch out of the bullpen.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Edwin Jackson will be competing for a rotation spot in Spring Training, but as a fallback, the 32-year-old right-hander could also serve in a long-relief role.

The Marlins have no shortage of pitchers in camp who could find themselves as candidates to start or pitch out of the bullpen.

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Jackson, a longtime starter, pitched in relief last year for the Cubs and Braves. He was a free-agent signing in January. From an organization standpoint, Miami would prefer that Jackson start, and he may wind up fourth or fifth in the rotation.

"He will get an opportunity to do that," manager Don Mattingly said. "Then knowing that there is that versatility there [to relieve]. You need that over the course of the season -- guys who can go out of the 'pen and start if they have to."

Jackson has 262 career big league starts and 340 total appearances.

Other pitchers who could be in swing spots are David Phelps, Jose Urena and Brad Hand.

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"We have a number of those guys who can fill that role, which is nice," Mattingly said. "Edwin is going to get his chances. He will work like a starter for the most part of Spring Training, and then we'll make a decision."

Worth noting

• Friday was pretty much a day of rest for most of the pitchers when it came to throwing off the mound or facing hitters. Pitchers faced batters in live batting practice on Wednesday and Thursday and were given a breather on Friday.

• The way the organization sees it, Jose Fernandez, Wei-Yin Chen and Tom Koehler have secured three of the five rotation spots. Mattingly has yet to determine in which order they will pitch in the regular season, although it could very well be in that sequence.

Video: MIA@NYM: Koehler holds Mets to one run to earn win

But that doesn't mean Koehler could open in the fourth or fifth spots as well, since the top two slots appear obvious.

"He's healthy," Mattingly said. "He's throwing the ball well. He's probably been the most durable guy, as far as innings and that. If a guy is throwing innings, that means he's doing something to stay out there. He fits in."

• The Marlins have some organizational depth developing at shortstop, and the big league coaching staff will get a good look at two of the promising prospects this Spring Training. Austin Nola and J.T. Riddle are non-roster invitees who project to open at Triple-A New Orleans and Double-A Jacksonville, respectively.

Video: Top Prospects: J.T. Riddle, SS, Marlins

Nola, the brother of Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola, is very good defensively and likely will move around the diamond in New Orleans. Riddle may become the shortstop of the future behind Adeiny Hechavarria. A left-handed hitter, Riddle is Miami's 13th-rated prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Edwin Jackson