When he injured his thumb in late January — about a month after he signed a three-year contract and a few weeks before the start of spring training — Ricky Nolasco was so upset that he turned into a recluse.

"I was freaking out," Nolasco said. "I didn't leave my house for days at a time, just because I'm freaking out at home. It was definitely frustrating and I never want to be on the disabled list, no matter what."

When February turned to March, Nolasco was still ailing. And when his first two spring starts went poorly, there was talk of pushing him back in the Marlins' rotation.

Not after Wednesday.

Save for the third inning when the Braves scored three runs, he looked sharp and set to go for his first regular-season start April?2.

"Go time," Nolasco said after pitching five innings Wednesday.

Nolasco threw far better in what was his third spring start than he did in either of his previous two, not that that's saying a whole lot. Nolasco gave up 11 earned runs on 12 hits in just the four total innings of those two dismal outings.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez suggested that if Nolasco didn't pitch better Wednesday, he would consider pushing him back in the rotation to give him more time to find his form.