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Koehler treats start like regular-season game

March 27, 2017

JUPITER, Fla. -- All the work and preparation Tom Koehler has been doing throughout Spring Training transferred over to the main field on Monday afternoon.In what likely was Koehler's final Grapefruit League start, the right-hander struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings in the Marlins' 5-0 loss to the Mets

JUPITER, Fla. -- All the work and preparation Tom Koehler has been doing throughout Spring Training transferred over to the main field on Monday afternoon.
In what likely was Koehler's final Grapefruit League start, the right-hander struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings in the Marlins' 5-0 loss to the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium.
Already named Miami's third starter, Koehler will make his regular-season debut on April 6 at Washington.
On Monday, he treated the day as if the results counted.
"They had asked me how many innings I wanted to go," Koehler said. "I said, 'I don't want to know. I'm just going to pitch, and you tell me when I'm done.' I wanted to treat it as if it was Game 1."
Koehler worked into the sixth inning, and he encountered some bad luck in the frame. Third baseman Derek Dietrich, who was shifted to the right side of the infield for left-handed-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera, slipped trying to corral a ground ball, and the result was an error.
The misplay extended the inning, and the Mets scored five runs. With two outs in the inning, Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores delivered back-to-back RBI singles.
After Koehler exited, J.T. Rivera belted a three-run homer off Hunter Cervenka.
Four runs were charged to Koehler, but none were earned.
Manager Don Mattingly noted that if it had been a regular-season game, Koehler would have been lifted before facing Bruce.
"I thought Tom was really good today," Mattingly said. "Kind of on the attack. Really, in that inning, he probably doesn't see Bruce in a real game. At that point he's thrown a bunch of pitches, but we still wanted to let him keep working."
Koehler had life on his fastball, which topped at 95 mph, and he mixed in a few changeups. Going after hitters, it didn't have the feeling of a typical exhibition game for the 30-year-old.
"If there was a 2-1 count, we weren't just going to throw a pitch just to throw it," Koehler said. "We were pitching sequences, as if it were a pitch in May or June."
Koehler also worked with regular catcher J.T. Realmuto for the first time since the Grapefruit League opener on Feb. 25. Monday also was the righty's first time on a main field since March 12.
In between, Koehler has been pitching every fifth day on back fields, either in Minor League or intrasquad games.
"It's been translating over on the back fields too," Koehler said. "But until you're facing big league-caliber hitters, you're not really sure what the results you're getting."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.