Feb 26, 2013; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco (left) and catcher Rob Brantly (right) both head towards the dugout before a spring training game against thenNew York Mets at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Nolasco Named Opening Day Starter for Miami Marlins

Ricky Nolasco has been named the opening day starter for April 1st, when the Miami Marlins take on the Washington Nationals. Nolasco was informed by manager Mike Redmond, mid-game, when the manager came to take him out of the game.

The news is hardly surprising, as many had deemed this as a forgone conclusion. After the Marlins-Blue Jays blockbuster trade in November which sent Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle  to Toronto, that left Nolasco as the lone veteran in the starting rotation.

April 1st will be Nolasco’s second career opening-day start. Nolasco also got the nod for the 2009 opener, against the Washington Nationals. In that game, Nolasco and the Marlins picked up the win, but Nolasco allowed five runs in six innings, allowing seven hits while striking out six hitter and walking zero.

Ricky Nolasco is the current Marlins franchise leader in wins (76), innings pitched (1,113 1/3) and strikeouts (911). He will have a chance to add onto those numbers in the 2013 season, even if it is for just half-a-season, like most outsiders predict. Nolasco is seen as the Marlins lone trade chip, outside of Giancarlo Stanton.

Nolasco had an efficient start on Thursday, striking out six hitters, without allowing a walk. He threw 40 of his 59 pitches for strikes. Nolasco was the losing pitcher in the game, as he allowed a run in his 3 2/3 innings. The Marlins offense could not muster up any offense.

Justen will have more on the game in the morning in his game recap.

Last season, Nolasco went 12-13 with a 4.48 ERA in 31 starts and logged 191 innings. Nolasco has thrown 200 innings twice in his career, but owns a frustrating career ERA of 4.49, even though his career FIP sits at 3.83.

For both Nolasco’s sake and the Marlins, the hope is that Nolasco pitches closer to his periphials in 2013, as the Marlins can then maximize his value on the trade market. Nolasco, whose in the last season of his contract, is also playing for his MLB pitching future.

A strong season from Nolasco will result in a decent contract, possibly a long-term contract next winter. A poor season and Nolasco maybe looking for a minor league contract next season and be competing for a spot in a rotation for a bottom-feeding team, like the Marlins in 2014.

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Tags: Josh Johnson Mark Buehrle Miami Marlins Mike Redmond Ricky Nolasco

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