Bullpen boost needed after 16-inning loss

Wittgren optioned after 3-inning outing; starter Conley used in final frame

Bullpen boost needed after 16-inning loss

MIAMI -- The fallout after an exhausting 9-8 loss to the Mets in 16 innings on Thursday is the Marlins now must reshuffle their rotation, and send one of their promising young relievers to the Minor Leagues.

Once the battle of fatigue reached the 16th inning, Adam Conley, the scheduled starter for Friday, entered in relief. The lefty surrendered a leadoff home run to Travis d'Arnaud, who had four hits and four RBIs, which proved the difference.

With Conley not an option for Friday, the Marlins are turning to Edinson Volquez in the second of four games with the Mets at Marlins Park.

Volquez actually will be on regular rest, because the team was off on Monday. The Marlins didn't announce who would start the final two games of the series, but it could mean pushing up Dan Straily to Saturday and Tom Koehler to Sunday.

Conley, who threw 19 pitches, perhaps could mix in on Sunday. But that hasn't been determined.

What has been decided is reliever Nick Wittgren, who covered three innings, will be optioned on Friday to Triple-A New Orleans. No replacement has been named, but it will be a reliever. Brian Ellington and Hunter Cervenka are both on the 40-man roster, and each have options.

"It's part of a game like this, usually someone is a casualty," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "With us, there really was no options, because he's the only guy with options."

The Marlins have been carrying eight relievers and four position players. On Thursday, having the extra arms available helped, but it limited Mattingly with the lineup.

The game ended in the 16th when Marcell Ozuna, who hit a grand slam in the first inning, lifted a long fly ball to deep center field with a man on first. Had the Mets pitched around Ozuna, Conley was on deck, and would have been the only one available to hit.

"It was just one of those games, for us, it hurts," Mattingly said. "These games always feel good when you win. Both teams depleted their 'pens. You don't the know affect over the next few days."

For Conley, it was not an ideal situation to enter a game that lasted five hours and 38 minutes. But the left-hander made no excuses for his post-midnight outing.

"Any time it starts to get late, especially running a short bench, the pitchers already know they might be in there to bunt," Conley said. "They might put us in there to run, or something like that. But, obviously, knowing my day is tomorrow, and getting deeper into the game, obviously, those thoughts come up."

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.