Blister behind him, Cosart finishes strong

After missing start, Marlins righty throws six scoreless innings in Grapefruit League finale

Blister behind him, Cosart finishes strong

JUPITER, Fla. -- A rocky Spring Training came to a promising end on Wednesday for Jarred Cosart. The Marlins right-hander made a statement with six shutout innings in an 8-0 win over the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Cosart had been dealing with a blister issue, as well as inconsistent pitching mechanics.

"I kept getting texts from my mom that all these fans are still worried about me," Cosart said. "I felt like my last one I needed to do pretty well. I was pretty focused today. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish: to get to that six-, seventh-inning mark. I still had more in the tank."

Cosart allowed just one hit and struck out four in his six strong innings. He got his pitch count up to 78. About the only negative were three walks. Otherwise, he was sharp, bringing his fastball in the 94-95-mph range.

"That was a big lift, I think, for all of us, and probably a big relief for him at the same time," manager Mike Redmond said. "Getting him back on the mound, his finger felt great. He pitched great. That's the Cosart we know and have seen a lot. It was good to have him back there."

The Marlins announced their rotation after Wednesday's win, and Cosart will be the fifth starter. He's next scheduled to throw a simulated game on Monday in Jupiter and then will face the Rays in Miami on April 11.

Prior to the blister surfacing on his right middle finger, Cosart was on course to pitch the second game. Wednesday was his first outing since March 22.

"Five days feels like a long time when waiting in between starts," he said. "This seemed like an eternity.

"I came out there. I finally had a clear head. Obviously, there has been a lot of stuff going on the last two weeks. It was just really good to get out there in a game situation, be with my team and pitch like I know I'm capable of pitching."

Cosart also is the subject of an MLB investigation into the righty's alleged connection with a gambler. The right-hander has already talked with league officials about the matter, and he said a resolution could come before Opening Day.

"I'm following protocol," Cosart said. "I told all these guys, I never have, never will bet on baseball. That's the only statement I can come out with right now."

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.