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Koehler takes liner off his backside, tosses 4 1/3 scoreless against Cardinals Triple A team Wednesday

While most of his Marlins teammates enjoyed their first day off of the spring, Tom Koehler spent his afternoon Wednesday pitching in a Triple A game on a backfield behind Roger Dean Stadium as his quest for a job in the starting rotation continued. 

Facing a lineup which featured Cardinals' top prospects Oscar Taveras and James Ramsey, Koehler tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and one walk while striking out four before his pitch count got too high.  

"I would have liked to have gone a little deeper especially coming off five [scoreless] innings the other day [against the Mets]," said Koehler, who threw 74 pitches, 54 for strikes.

"But considering the circumstances where my pitch count got up with some foul [balls], some good at-bats, I'm still happy where I'm at right now." 

Koehler, who in 12 Grapefruit League innings has given up just one earned run and seven hits while striking out 11 and walking two, had a bit of a scary moment in the fourth inning when Cardinals minor leaguer Chris Swauger smacked a line drive back to the mound. 

Luckily, the ball struck Koehler right below his buttocks, high up along his right thigh. He recovered, picked up the ball and tossed it to first base for the put out. Koehler then waved a trainer off saying he felt fine. 

"I'll tell you if that's one place it's going to get me that's the best spot," Koehler said. "Those are the type of plays people tend to panic on. That's the one that if I was thinking too much I would have picked it up and thrown it down the right field line and allowed the run. I found it, threw it. It didn't hurt."

After going 5-10 with a 4.41 ERA and making 23 starts for the Marlins last season, Koehler came into camp expecting to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation with left-hander Brad Hand and veteran right-hander Kevin Slowey.

Hand has been equal to the task, going 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, nine hits, 15 strikeouts and two walks over 12 innings. But it looks like the Marlins could be leaning toward Koehler especially since Hand was only asked to pitch an inning of work in another minor league game on Wednesday. 

What's been the difference for Koehler this spring?

"It's honestly just knowing what I'm capable of doing," said Koehler, who went 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in five starts last September. "I showed myself a lot in September of last season. I'm kind of trying to build off that. 

"I belong here and I know that. It's never been about stuff with me. It's always been about minimizing the damage and trying to stay within yourself and not try to do too much. I'm really focusing more on relying on my ability, throwing strikes and letting stuff play out. As soon as it comes out of my hand -- they hit a double or a home run -- so be it. Onto the next pitch. As of right now it's working and it's something I think is going to do a nice job of carrying over into the season."

Comments

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manny

Kudos to Koehler for using his head

Al-Kendall

Koehler has reiterated in Spring Training what he established in September. He has become a competent MLB pitcher. The same cannot yet be established for Turner.

Flav C.

With all due respect but... Koehler pitched 18 starts until end of August with a 5.0 ERA, opponents batted .290 against him in this same timeframe, close to 1.5 WHIP, and all of a sudden he becomes a competent MLB pitcher because he had 4 good starts in September (the 5th start was atrocious), which included a dead-meat Mets, and 4 innings against a horrible Cubs. Is that the definition of a competent MLB Pitcher?

Turner up until mid August had a 2.89 ERA in 14 starts, including a complete game, and allowed half of the HRs (6) that Koehler allowed in the same time frame. He completely ran out of gas due to his innings at AAA.

I failed to see how one is competent and the other isn't.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Turner has a ways to go, but I'll take him over Koehler easily.

Al-Kendall

Also, with due respect, please consider that Koehler had a 2W-1L/3.14 ERA Sept'13, pitching 28 innings in 5 games to a 1.15 WHIP and 0.225 OBA. He did in fact improve much over the 2013 season. He also improved each year through the minors. One may reasonably expect, given he has pitched well this spring, a better 2014 season.

Turner seemed to run out of gas in September, but we hope he has improved and should also perform better this year. However, given his observed results, I am not so optimistic as with Koehler.

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