ATLANTA — To make room for Henderson Alvarez on the roster and in the team’s starting rotation, the Marlins optioned rookie Tom Koehler to Triple A New Orleans.
Alvarez made his first start of the season Thursday after returning from a stint on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
Koehler had been in the rotation since May 12 and made 10 starts, going 1-5 with a 4.70 ERA. In his last start Tuesday, Koehler finished with a no-decision after pitching five innings and allowing three runs, two earned.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Koehler would continue to start for the time being at New Orleans.
“I thought Tom did a good job when he was here, giving us some flexibility where he could start and come in out of the bullpen,” Redmond said. “He got some valuable experience. He threw the ball well and threw strikes and did all the things we talked about in spring training that he needed to do to be successful. He got some opportunities because guys were hurt, but now guys are coming back.”
The Marlins also transferred outfielder Matt Diaz to the 60-day disabled list.
Jacob Turner has looked like a different pitcher since he returned from the minors May 31.
On Friday night, Turner hopes to continue his turnaround in front of his hometown fans when he starts against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
“Anytime my family can see me pitch, it’s exciting,” said Turner, who was born in St. Charles, which he said is about a 15- to 20-minute drive from St. Louis. “They’ve been with me through the ups and downs. It’s definitely exciting to pitch for the first time in St. Louis. Whether it’s the greatest start of my life or the worst, I’m going to enjoy it.”
The Marlins are appreciating the way Turner has battled back from a dismal spring and is starting to look like the promising starter they hope he can be for years to come.
Originally expected to become the Marlins’ No. 2 starter, Turner struggled with his control in the spring, going 0-3 with a 9.69 ERA in 13 innings and four starts and was demoted to New Orleans.
Nearly four months later, Turner is 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts (41 innings). Turner is coming off his first career complete game against the Padres in which he allowed one run on seven hits and struck out a career-high seven.
Turner is the first pitcher 22 years or younger since Mark Prior to throw 40 or more innings and have an ERA that low.
“It’s just having the confidence on the mound and attacking,” Turner said. “I pitch to contact and keep it down. With the way the defense has been playing, I’ll have a good chance to win.”
Redmond praised Turner’s resilience and maturity in handling the situation after coming over from the Tigers last season with such high expectations.
“There were a couple of ways he could have approached that,” Redmond said. “One is to go down to the minors and feel sorry for yourself and never get back, or you can work hard on the things you need to and your confidence. He’s got a lot to prove out there, and I think you saw that in his last start.
“The guy we saw in spring training is a totally different person [from who’s here] now. He’s stronger. His velocity is better. His command is better. His presence is better. He’s a big lift for this club and the pitching staff.”
• Friday: Marlins RHP Turner (2-0, 1.76 ERA) vs. St. Louis Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook (4-3, 2.95), 8:15 p.m., Busch Stadium.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.00) vs. Cardinals RHP Joe Kelly (0-3, 3.86), 2:15 p.m., Busch Stadium.
• Scouting report: Turner hopes to stay hot in front of his hometown supporters. He has allowed one run or fewer in five of his past seven starts.