Urena handles the challenge of facing Yanks

Urena handles the challenge of facing Yanks

NEW YORK -- In his fifth big league start, Marlins right-hander Jose Urena experienced a first.

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The Yankees on Wednesday night loaded up on lefties, using eight players who either naturally hit from the left side or switch-hit in the Marlins' 2-1 loss at Yankee Stadium.

"Facing so many lefties, he made an adjustment late," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "That's why we stuck with him. Early, he was missing arm side and off the plate, and this is a disciplined team. But I tip my hat. He got back into counts and competed all the way through."

It was a big battle for the 23-year-old, who repeatedly struggled throwing strikes. In six innings, he gave up two runs on six hits, while walking four and hitting a batter. Of his 96 pitches, 50 were strikes.

"It was a tough lineup," Urena said. "I had to face eight lefties today. I can't stay with the same routine. I've got to change it up. Today, my breaking balls were just out of the zone."

The lone right-handed hitter Urena saw was Alex Rodriguez, who collected an RBI single in the first inning.

Despite struggling throwing strikes, Urena worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning. But in the fifth inning, Carlos Beltran's two-out RBI single made it 2-0.

Urena works out of trouble

"He gave us an opportunity to win the game," Jennings said.

Urena is a promising rookie, who opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans. He's striving to stay in the rotation. Regardless of where he winds up pitching in the organization, competing at Yankee Stadium is an experience that should help Urena's development.

"I keep learning from these different experiences," Urena said. "They make me stronger, and make me better for my next start."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.