Marlins mulling rotation mix with Fernandez

Miami plans to stick with five starters; Nicolino sent down as Morris returns

Marlins mulling rotation mix with Fernandez

MIAMI -- The anticipated return of Jose Fernandez gives the Marlins a bona fide ace, but it also means more decisions must be made regarding the rest of the rotation.

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Miami's starting pitchers are set for the three games with the Giants, but who will take the mound for the weekend series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field remains undecided.

Fernandez, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow May 16, 2014, is scheduled to be reinstated from the disabled list and start Thursday afternoon against the Giants. Beyond that will be settled in the next few days.

Miami currently has six starters on its roster. Mat Latos, Dan Haren and Fernandez are lined up in that order for the Giants series. Tom Koehler, Jose Urena and Jarred Cosart are also starters, although Cosart has been available in long relief.

Lefty Justin Nicolino, who made two starts since being called up June 20, was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday as reliever Bryan Morris was reinstated from the disabled list.

Another roster move will need to be made when Fernandez is activated Thursday.

The Marlins had been considering going with a six-man rotation through the All-Star break. But manager Dan Jennings said the team is prepared to stay with five.

"That was one of the things we talked about was when Jose came back," Jennings said. "But we wanted it to be a five-man from that point forward. So I think we're going to do that. It gives us the affordability to put guys in the proper spots and it'll strengthen our bullpen."

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