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Marlins Opening Day roster gradually taking shape

Nagging injuries to several veterans have created opportunities for top prospects.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

After Tuesday afternoon’s exhibition against the University of Miami Hurricanes baseball team, the Marlins moved closer to finalizing their 2018 Opening Day roster. For all the attention given to the new-look lineup, we’ll be seeing significant turnover on the mound, too.

According to the club, probable starters for the first regular season series—hosting the Cubs at Marlins Park—are as follows:

1. RHP José Ureña

2. LHP Caleb Smith

3. RHP Odrisamer Despaigne

4. LHP Dillon Peters

Each of them with the exception of Smith pitched for the Marlins in 2017. However, none were present in the major league rotation at the beginning of last season.

Peters solidified his spot with 4 23 innings in the UM game. He had previously been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on March 16, but will stay in Miami instead, as Dan Straily continues to rest after experiencing right elbow inflammation.

Left-hander Jarlín Garcia was added to the active roster, and would seem to be a strong candidate for the fifth starter role (which will be needed on Monday vs. the Red Sox). Manager Don Mattingly indicated last month the desire to reacclimate him to the rotation after a summer of relief work.

Spring training star Trevor Richards also worked himself into consideration. One key complication: he does not have a 40-man roster spot, so that promotion would require a corresponding move from the organization.

In other new roster moves, the Marlins optioned outfielder Magneuris Sierra and right-hander Brian Ellington to Triple-A. Braxton Lee will make the leap from Double-A to the majors, projected to be in a fourth outfielder role (at least initially).

No surprises with the season-opening disabled list—the Fish are erring on the side of caution with seven players who’s injuries were already known:

  • LHP Wei-Yin Chen
  • RHP Brett Graves
  • RHP Elieser Hernandez
  • 3B Martin Prado
  • C J.T. Realmuto
  • SS JT Riddle
  • RHP Dan Straily

Without the services of several impact veterans, don’t be surprised if it gets ugly for the home team when the Cubs arrive in town Thursday afternoon.