JUPITER — The first time Jacob Turner took the mound for the Marlins this spring, he couldn’t get out of the first inning. He hit a batter, walked three, gave up four hits and six earned runs and got just one out before being pulled against the Cardinals on Thursday.
His second start — in a “B” game against the Mets played on a back field behind Roger Dean Stadium — went much more smoothly. The 21-year-old right-hander, acquired in the deal that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers, pitched two scoreless innings Tuesday morning, walking two, striking out one and throwing 13 of his 24 pitches for strikes.
Turner didn’t give up any hits or runs in the Marlins’ 4-0 win.
“I felt more comfortable this time out,” said Turner, who before the start of spring was projected to be the team’s No. 2 starter behind Ricky Nolasco. “I felt like there were a couple of times it maybe got a little of sync timing wise. Other than that, I threw a lot of good quality pitches I wanted to throw. I’m getting back to the plan on the fastball, getting ground balls and just pitching to my strengths.”
Manager Mike Redmond and pitching coach Chuck Hernandez both were encouraged. “He had better rhythm in his delivery, throwing the ball downhill a little bit better,” Hernandez said. “[Tuesday] was a step forward in getting him back on track a little bit.”
Redmond said although the first four slots in the top of the rotation are “close to being set … there is a still couple of question marks.”
“We’re counting on guys like him to go out there and pitch in that rotation, pound the strike zone and give us a chance to win,” Redmond said. “At the same time, too, they’re young. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind.”
• After missing starts Sunday and Tuesday, third baseman Placido Polanco (strained back) is expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday, Redmond said. Polanco went through full team activities Tuesday, including fielding ground balls.
• Pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs has a strained calf according to Redmond. Dobbs hasn’t played since Feb. 24. “He’s going to run [Wednesday],” Redmond said. “He should be game-ready in the next couple days.”
• Kolby Copeland, a 2012 third-round pick and minor-league outfield prospect for the Marlins, received a 50-game suspension Tuesday for refusing to take an offseason drug test. His suspension will begin at the start of the season. Copeland, 19, is on the roster of the Class A Batavia (N.Y.) Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League.
• Wednesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (0-1, 5.40 ERA with Marlins) at St. Louis Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook (12-9, 4.66 ERA with Cardinals), 1:05 p.m. Jupiter.
• Thursday: Marlins RHP Nolasco (12-13, 4.48 ERA with Marlins) at Mets RHP Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.73 ERA with Mets), 1:10 p.m., Port St. Lucie.