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Marlins likely to use Jeff Locke as a reliever

A lefty in the bullpen could prove to be valuable.

MLB: Miami Marlins-Workouts Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When the Marlins signed left-hander Jeff Locke, they likely figured he would join the starting rotation. However, that might not be the case as May approaches.

Locke has been sidelined and opened the season on the disabled list because of bicep tendinitis, and when the lefty returns, the Marlins will likely use him as a reliever, according to Andre Fernandez of The Miami Herald.

Locke, who is a career 35-38 with a 4.41 ERA, was mostly a starter during his first four full seasons with 110 starts until the Pirates transitioned him to a relief role during the second half of last season.

"We still want — we’ve always talked about having a number of guys who can do multiple innings," Mattingly said. "He’s one of those guys that’s been a starter, but also could be a nice little bridge guy for us to be able to take pressure off other guys in our pen."

Locke could be a valuable addition to Miami’s bullpen, which currently features left-hander Jarlin Garcia but didn’t include a lefty to open the year. If he joins Miami’s bullpen, Locke can also serve as the club’s spot starter, which should also be valuable given the early performances of the Marlins starters.

The Marlins signed Locke to a one-year, $3 million deal, and once he is healthy, he could have a prominent role. Regardless of whether he starts or relievers, Locke’s presence should be felt.