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Chris Volstad won't win the ROY

If Chris Volstad ever had a dream about being Rookie of the Year, it has been vanquished.

Chris Volstad now has exactly 50 innings pitched in the big leagues after throwing 5 1/3 innings Saturday at Arizona. Reaching 50 innings means that Volstad will not have rookie status in 2009. One of the qualifications to be a rookie is throwing no more than 50 innings in the previous year.

Kind of a shame, really.  But every now and then, someone has to take one for the team.

The next question is how long can Volstad go.

Rookie right-hander Chris Volstad of Palm Beach Gardens, who makes his next start Friday at Dolphin Stadium against the Mets, said he hopes to pitch in September for the first time in his career.

Volstad, who allowed four runs in 5.1 innings Saturday, has pitched 141 innings this year - 50 at the big league level and 91 at Class AA Carolina. Last year he logged a career-high 168 .2 innings in the minors.

Volstad has never pitched in September since the minor-league seasons end in August. The team could decide to shut him down in a week or two for precautionary reasons, especially if the Marlins fall out of the division race.

Left-hander Andrew Miller could take Volstad's spot.

"My body is feeling good. I feel like I can keep going" said Volstad who missed two starts with Class AA Carolina in June because of triceps tendinitis.

Let's leave aside the fact that the young Andrew Miller has never pitched in September either or the fact that the most innings he has ever thrown in any season in his career is 142.  And he has already eclipsed the most innings he has ever pitched at the major level by 37.

The injury nexus, on average, for young pitchers is about 170 innings.  Generally, one minor league inning doesn't equate to one major league inning.  When someone has the talent Volstad possess he doesn't have to work as hard in the minors.  But throwing is throwing and it does take some toll.

Volstad is slated for six more starts this season, if the Marlins hold true to him starting every fifth day, and they don't have to with the off days.  But say they do and he goes 6 innings in each start, he will end the season with 86 major league innings and 91 minor league innings for a total of 178 innings.  That should be doable given that Volstad is mainly a sinker ball pitcher.

But also what it means, should the Marlins get into the playoffs, he will strictly be used out of the bullpen.

Volstad is a very valuable young pitcher and is part of the future plans of the organization and not someone to be toyed with.  That said, I think he can complete the year without causing any damage.  But he does need to be closely monitored.  Just in case.