Marlins shake up rotation

Marlins shake up rotation

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Marlins are shaking up their rotation in a move that gives manager Fredi Gonzalez more bullpen flexibility.

Barring something unforeseen, Sergio Mitre will now start the Marlins home opener on April 6 against the Phillies, while Ricky Nolasco moves temporarily into the bullpen.

Initially, Nolasco was tabbed the No. 4 starter, with Mitre falling in line to make his first start on April 10 against the Brewers. An April 5 off-day enables the club to go with a four-man rotation until April 10.

Mitre, who is starting the exhibition finale on Saturday against the Reds in Dayton, Ohio, will remain in line to start the home opener. Nolasco, who threw an inning of scoreless relief on Friday while facing the Mets, will be available for long relief beginning Opening Day on Monday at Washington.

"Nolasco gives us flexibility in the bullpen," Gonzalez said.

Nolasco has thrown relief in the past, and Mitre is bouncing back from a shoulder problem that caused him to miss most of 2006.

The Marlins are carrying 12 pitchers, and Nolasco now will be used in long relief. His last available date to relieve is April 7, which would be his last day to throw before his first start.

"I understand it's the best thing to do for the team," Nolasco said.

Both Nolasco and Mitre have enjoyed strong springs.

Nolasco threw 15 1/3 innings this spring, with a 3.52 ERA. Mitre has thrown nine scoreless innings in three spring starts.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.