Marlins depending on durability from starters

Volquez, Koehler each struck out a batter in one inning of spring opener

Marlins depending on durability from starters

JUPITER, Fla. -- On paper, the void is obvious. The Marlins have a rotation without a true ace. What's often overlooked, in the eyes of the organization, is the projected starting five has a track record of durability.

Two of the mainstays each threw an inning on Saturday in Miami's 8-7 win over the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Edinson Volquez started and gave up a run on no hits, and Tom Koehler followed with a scoreless inning. Each righty struck out one.

Manager Don Mattingly has yet to announce his Opening Day starter, but he's hinted Volquez has the most experience.

Koehler, who has made at least 30 starts in each of the past three seasons, understands the questions about the rotation. Jose Fernandez's death last September is devastating on many levels. His personality was contagious and his pitching spoke for itself -- he was a two-time All-Star and one of the best in the game.

Rather than seek one replacement for Fernandez, the Marlins stocked up pitchers with durability. Volquez, Koehler, Wei-Yin Chen and Dan Straily each have thrown more than 190 innings in a season. And lefty Adam Conley has top-of-the-rotation potential.

Koehler's K's Adams

"For the first time, we have a rotation full of depth," Koehler said. "Yes, there's a glaring hole; we see that. We're missing our ace. Nobody is going to fill in for that; we understand that. Now, we have guys who have thrown 180, 190 innings, multiple times."

Volquez, a free-agent signee, has been an Opening Day starter and pitched in the World Series for the Royals.

"I just try to be me," the 33-year-old said. "I know that [Fernandez] was one of the best pitchers in baseball. His [legacy] will be around forever. I don't have to try to be like the way he was. I just try to be me, be myself and do my best to help the team."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.