WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- At a time the Marlins are looking for rotation candidates to step up, Trevor Richards has delivered.Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 22 prospect, Richards impressed in Saturday's 4-3 win over the Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. In six innings,
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- At a time the Marlins are looking for rotation candidates to step up, Trevor Richards has delivered.
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's No. 22 prospect, Richards impressed in Saturday's 4-3 win over the Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. In six innings, he allowed one unearned run, and he's giving the organization something to think about in putting together the staff.
"Really good," manager Don Mattingly said. "He continued to change speeds."
If it seems like Richards has come out of nowhere to be in contention to make the Opening Day roster, it's because he has. Not on the 40-man roster, the Marlins sent Richards to the Minors earlier in camp. He was projected to be part of Triple-A New Orleans' rotation.
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But now that Dan Straily (right forearm inflammation) is expected to open the season on the disabled list, Richards has delivered in back-to-back starts for the Marlins. He was matched against the Nationals and their ace, Max Scherzer, twice in a week. Twice, Richards has come out on the winning side, throwing 10 innings and giving up two runs (one earned).
"It's exciting for me," Richards said. "I'm just trying -- whenever I get the callup here to play, you've got to enjoy it. Enjoy it while you can."
If Richards doesn't make the squad, it may have more to do with the fact he isn't currently on the 40-man roster. He also could be in the picture to be called up early in the season.
"That means you have to make [another move], as we talk through the roster," Mattingly said.
In the mix for rotation spots after Jose Urena, who will throw on Opening Day, are Odrisamer Despaigne, Caleb Smith, Jacob Turner and Justin Nicolino.
The Marlins also are looking outside the organization for candidates.
Saturday was an improbable scenario for the Marlins. They claimed the win over the Nationals while committing six errors, including three in the first two innings.
"Facing Scherzer with a rookie who is not on the roster, you make six errors and get a win," Mattingly said.
If shortstop JT Riddle (right shoulder) starts the season on the DL, the Marlins have another roster dilemma to solve. Miguel Rojas is the only shortstop option on the 40-man roster. In Saturday's win, a couple of non-roster candidates were in action. Yadiel Rivera, who played shortstop and left field on Saturday, went 3-for-4 with a home run off Scherzer. Peter Mooney came off the bench, going hitless in one at-bat. Mooney is batting .357 in Spring Training.
Wei-Yin Chen, who is managing a partial left elbow ligament tear, is scheduled to throw live batting practice on Sunday. Chen hasn't pitched in game situations all Spring Training, and he will open the season on the DL. Outfielder Magneuris Sierra, ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 7 prospect, is scheduled to play on Sunday in the split-squad game at the Mets. Sierra has been dealing with a left hamstring issue.
Grapefruit League play for the Marlins concludes on Sunday with split-squad action. The Marlins host the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Despaigne, who is lined up to be the No. 2 starter, gets the call for Miami against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel. Among the regulars scheduled to play are Lewis Brinson, Rojas, Justin Bour and Cameron Maybin. Turner is expected to pitch. In the other game, the Marlins visit the Mets at 12:10 p.m. ET. Tyler Cloyd will start for Miami, with Steven Matz going for New York. Brian Anderson and Scott Van Slyke will be on the trip. Watch both games live on MLB.TV.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.