03/26/2013 2:33 PM ET
Marlins nearing finalized Opening Day roster
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Before Tuesday's game against the Nationals, the Marlins tended to some last-minute roster business.
The team informed Article XX (B) free agents Austin Kearns, Chad Qualls and Casey Kotchman that they will be added to the 25-man roster.
All three veterans are non-roster invitees who were in camp on Minor League contracts. The three had a deadline of noon Tuesday to be notified of their status.
Kotchman will be the Marlins' Opening Day first baseman, while Kearns will be a right-handed bat off the bench. Qualls, a right-hander, will join the bullpen.
"We had to let them know that they will be on the Opening Day roster," manager Mike Redmond said. "Those guys will be added."
After making seven roster moves on Tuesday, the Marlins are down to 32 in camp. They will need to be at 25 by Sunday, with Opening Day at Washington set for 1 p.m. ET Monday.
Of the 32, Miami is expected to place five on the disabled list -- Jeff Mathis, Logan Morrison, Alfredo Silverio, Jose Ceda and Joe Mahoney.
The rotation is set, and it will be -- in order -- Ricky Nolasco, Nathan Eovaldi, Wade LeBlanc, Henderson Alvarez and Kevin Slowey.
Redmond said a decision still must be made regarding one bullpen spot.
The relievers still in camp are closer Steve Cishek, Jon Rauch, Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn, Qualls, A.J. Ramos and John Maine.
Rob Brantly and Kyle Skipworth are the two catchers.
The starting infield projects with Kotchman at first base, Donovan Solano (second base), Adeiny Hechavarria (shortstop) and Placido Polanco (third base).
Non-roster invitees Wilson Valdez and Chris Valaika are vying for the utility infield spot.
Veteran Greg Dobbs will be the primary left-handed bat off the bench.
It appears five outfielders will be kept -- Juan Pierre, Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Ruggiano, Chris Coghlan and Gorkys Hernandez.
Matt Diaz has signed a Minor League deal, and the plan is to keep him at Triple-A for now to give him at-bats and playing time. But he could be an option to be on the roster after the season starts.
Redmond announces Marlins' rotation order
JUPITER, Fla. -- Six days before Opening Day, the Marlins have at last finalized their pitching rotation.
Manager Mike Redmond set the order on Tuesday morning -- Ricky Nolasco, Nathan Eovaldi, Wade LeBlanc, Henderson Alvarez and Kevin Slowey.
The rotation picture became clear early in the day when Jacob Turner, who came into Spring Training as a frontrunner to win a rotation spot, was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Slowey, a non-roster invitee, will be making the team and pitching in the fifth spot.
"We sent Turner down to get his command back," Redmond said. "That was a tough one."
Miami gets a serious test right off the bat.
On Monday, the Marlins take on Washington at Nationals Park. Nolasco will get the nod against Stephen Strasburg. Rounding out the series at Washington will be Eovaldi in Game 2 against Gio Gonzalez, and LeBlanc will go in the series finale, opposing Jordan Zimmermann.
LeBlanc is the lone lefty in the rotation, and he will split the starting five.
"That's what we were looking to do, after Eovaldi, a big, power guy, mix in the lefty," Redmond said. "LeBlanc is more of a control, finesse guy. Give them a different look. We figured that was the best way to go. We'll see how it is. After the first time, the numbers don't really matter as far as what number you pitch in the rotation."
Alvarez will pitch on April 5 at the Mets, and Slowey will go on April 6. Nolasco will close out the series in New York.
On Wednesday, Nolasco will pitch in a Minor League game at the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Solano, recovering from a sore back, is scheduled to play in the same game. The hope is Solano will be ready to play on Thursday against the Cardinals.