Urena solidifying rotation spot after 2nd start

Urena solidifying rotation spot after 2nd start

MIAMI -- On a night the Marlins took another tough loss, they appear to have found a starting pitcher. You can pretty much remove the "spot starter" tag on Jose Urena and sketch his name in as a regular in the rotation.

The hard-throwing, 25-year-old right-hander yielded two runs in six innings, and he once again showed plenty of potential in the Marlins' 8-4 loss to the Braves on Friday at Marlins Park.

"Jose's throwing the ball well," manager Don Mattingly said. "He's going to be on the attack. He's going to give you everything he's got."

Over six frames, Urena scattered six hits with three walks (one intentional) and four strikeouts. His only two runs allowed came on Tyler Flowers' second-inning homer.

Urena's strong performance, even though he was tagged with the loss, sets him up for another start, which would be on Wednesday against the Astros in Miami.

The Marlins moved Urena from long relief to the rotation when Edinson Volquez (right thumb blister) and Wei-Yin Chen (left arm fatigue) went on the disabled list.

Volquez will be reinstated on Saturday and start the middle game against the Braves. Chen's status is more up in the air.

The Marlins have yet to announce Sunday's starter, but it could be Dan Straily, who is also lined up for Monday. The fact Miami was off on Thursday means Straily could be on four days' rest and go on Sunday, with Tom Koehler on Monday.

Mattingly said the team is looking for a starter either on Sunday or Tuesday.

As for Urena, he has given up just two runs in 12 innings with a win and loss in his two starts.

Flowers' two-run home run

"Everything is working," Urena said. "I've been more confident, throwing nice and easy and working on my breaking ball. I'm trying to change things with those guys. They are waiting for a fastball, and we're attacking the hitters."

Urena's fastball maxed at 97.4 mph on Friday, and he continues to work on his slider and changeup.

For Urena to become a more complete pitcher, he must still improve on his slider to keep hitters off his fastball. Of his 101 pitches, Urena got just four swinging strikes -- three on his slider and one on a changeup. He did have 10 called strikes.

The big mistake Urena made was to Flowers, who connected on a two-run homer in the second inning. Per Statcast™, the pitch was a 96.2-mph fastball that Flowers didn't miss. The exit velocity was 109.2 mph.

"One pitch," Urena said. "I tried to throw a two-seamer. Those guys, they knew we were trying to pound the zone, and it was 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.