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Henderson Alvarez expected to be Marlins' Opening Day starter

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The 24-year old will likely take the mound against the Braves with Jose Fernandez not expected to return until the summer.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Redmond has yet to announce an opening day starter, but there may be an emerging favorite. With Jose Fernandez out with Tommy John surgery and not expected to return until June or July, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro notes Henderson Alvarez is expected to get the nod on April 6 against the Braves at Marlins Park.

Alvarez, 24, emerged as a front of the line starter in Fernandez's absence last season. He posted a 2.65 ERA and 3.58 FIP in 187.0 innings pitched while starting 30 games. Alvarez was the Marlins' ace in 2014, and as a result, he will likely make the club's first start of the season.

A handful of teams have already announced their opening day starters, however the Marlins are waiting to see how the rotation comes together over the next few weeks. If Fernandez was healthy, pending an unexpected circumstance, it is likely he would have been on the mound opening day and would have known it since the start of spring training.

"He had a tremendous year last year," Redmond said. "He stepped up at a time we needed somebody to step up. He was that guy who really took off and had a tremendous year, being an All-Star."

When the Marlins added Alvarez in the trade with Toronto, the organization likely saw a rising middle of the rotation starter. But a consistent delivery, the ability to keep hitters off balance, and a constant approach have allowed him to become one of the Marlins' best starting options. When Fernandez returns, Alvarez is rightfully expected to be Miami's number two starter.

Alvarez's 12-7 record and 2.65 ERA were good enough for sixth in the National League a season ago. He was solid in his first Grapefruit League start, tossing a pair of scoreless innings in the Marlins' 8-7 victory over the Mets on Saturday afternoon.

The Marlins are confident in Alvarez and are hoping he can anchor the rotation until Fernandez returns. Miami's rotation will likely feature Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Tom Koehler, and Jarred Cosart in addition to Alvarez, and Alvarez should thrive once again in 2015.