Marlins likely to announce top of rotation soon

Fernandez, Chen expected to secure Nos. 1 and 2 spots, while battle for other jobs ongoing

Marlins likely to announce top of rotation soon

JUPITER, Fla. -- All signs point to Jose Fernandez and Wei-Yin Chen lined up as the Marlins' first two starters, respectively. Manager Don Mattingly hasn't made that announcement official, but it could be coming soon.

The organization is close to setting at least the top of the rotation, while the competition for the fourth and fifth spots may go down to the wire in Spring Training.

"Within the next few days, I think we'll be able to figure it out," Mattingly said. "We've kind of got it figured out. There are some loose ends we want to get tied up before we get there."

Chen's scoreless spring debut

Fernandez, who will be on an innings limit of around 180 this year, will make his next Grapefruit League start on Thursday against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium.

Chen, a free-agent signee formerly of the Orioles, is a lefty who will pitch on Wednesday against the Nationals in Jupiter.

Before Spring Training opened, the Marlins noted that Tom Koehler, who paced the team with 187 1/3 innings last year, has a rotation spot secured. It is believed he will be lined up as the No. 3 starter, but that could change.

Koehler fans De Aza

Lefty Adam Conley is making a strong case to be the fourth starter.

"He's been impressive," Mattingly said. "He seems like he's just committed. It looks like he's a little bit on a mission. He looks confident. He pitches that way. He gets back on the mound. He doesn't mess around in between pitches. That shows you a lot, when guys don't mess around on the mound."

Conley impressed on Monday, when he threw four innings in a Minor League scrimmage.

Conley on scrimmage outing

Jarred Cosart, who will pitch in relief of Chen on Wednesday, Justin Nicolino, Jose Urena, Edwin Jackson and David Phelps are in the mix for the fifth spot.

"The competition, we'll let that work out," Mattingly said. "Usually coming down to the end, you see different stuff too."

Worth noting
• Closer A.J. Ramos, who dealt with a sore right calf early in Spring Training, is ready to pitch in Grapefruit League games. Ramos is no longer on any medical lists.

Chris Johnson, who missed a couple of games last weekend due to back stiffness, took batting practice Tuesday and is ready for an at-bat in a game situation.

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.