Hand to start Friday with Cosart nursing blister

Hand to start Friday with Cosart nursing blister

JUPITER, Fla. -- Having a surplus of starting pitching is turning out to be a good thing for the Marlins. On Thursday, the team announced left-hander Brad Hand will start on Friday against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla.

Hand is getting the nod after the team revealed Jarred Cosart, initially scheduled to pitch, has a blister on his right middle finger. Cosart played catch on Thursday, and he will be re-evaluated.

The Marlins have yet to announce their rotation, but the starting five has appeared to be set -- Henderson Alvarez, Cosart, Mat Latos, Dan Haren and Tom Koehler.

Hand, who has a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings this spring, has made four Grapefruit League appearances, including one start. The lefty has been in the mix for the fifth-starter spot.

"We know what Brad can do," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's that guy in the bullpen that can make starts, has made starts. I talked about it last year. It was tough for him in that role to come out of the bullpen and having to make some starts, but he can do that. He's extended out. He's had enough innings. He will make that start and go out there and do what he does."

Hand and right-hander David Phelps projected to start the season in Miami's bullpen as long relievers/spot starters. The Marlins are striving to retain as much starting pitching as possible. A year ago, they used a franchise-most 13 starters.

Miami's rotation will open the season with Jose Fernandez on the disabled list, as the ace recovers from Tommy John surgery. Fernandez is projected to join the team in either mid-June or July.

"Look at last year, when we went through 13 starting pitchers," Redmond said. "It's hard to say you're going to be able to get through with five guys the entire season. That's why you have and bring in guys, and that's why you stretch out guys in Spring Training in case something pops up. We have Phelps that can do that too. It's nice to have those guys extended out so they can throw more than a couple of innings."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.