Conley, Phelps turn in solid outings in scrimmage

Conley, Phelps turn in solid outings in scrimmage

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Marlins were off from Grapefruit League action on Monday, but it wasn't a day of rest for two pitchers who project into the 2016 plans.

Lefty Adam Conley, now a front-runner for a rotation spot, and right-hander David Phelps, who can start or relieve, each threw in a Minor League scrimmage on Field 4 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

Conley, one of the most impressive Marlins in camp, continues to build a strong case for an Opening Day rotation spot. The 25-year-old had another fine day, working four innings in a controlled setting. His fastball was 92-94 mph, and he was getting swings and misses on his slider and changeup.

"I feel great," Conley said. "At the end, I was working on some stuff that's new to me. Overall, it was a good day."

Phelps logged three innings and 46 pitches, and he continues to feel healthy as he builds back up after missing the final seven weeks of 2015 due to a stress fracture of the radius bone in his right forearm.

"My arm felt great," Phelps said. "It's fun pitching against these guys, because they take a little more aggressive approach than what we see this time of year. You get a pretty good idea of what your stuff looks like. That first inning, they were jumping over me a little bit."

Phelps was given an extra day of rest, and he faced hitters for the first time since logging two shutout innings against the Yankees on Tuesday.

Conley's throw day happened to fall on Monday, and he is now built up to around 60 pitches.

In the fourth inning, Conley dealt with adversity and pitched out of a jam. He allowed two hits with one out, but he ended his morning with successive strikeouts.

"For my sake, for the big picture of the season, to have runners on and pitch out of jams, it's all valuable stuff," Conley said. "If I'd never gotten into any trouble out here, it would be hard to prepare for getting into trouble when you're in the big leagues when the best hitters in the world are up there and you've got runners on."

The scrimmage was a chance for Conley to also set up scenarios in his mind. While he was facing Minor Leaguers, in his head, he was simulating how he might pitch to Yoenis Cespedes or David Wright of the Mets or Bryce Harper of the Nationals.

"That's my game plan going in, how I might want to pitch to those guys," Conley said. "How can I use my stuff? What are my sequences are going to be? All of that.

"As I'm getting extended here, I'm starting to look into those things more. Obviously, by getting into the four-, five-inning limits through spring, I'm going to start facing hitters multiple times."

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.