Pitchers, Mattingly unconcerned by rough outings

Urena, Nicolino satisfied with command despite allowing multiple runs

Pitchers, Mattingly unconcerned by rough outings

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Jose Urena, who is vying for a spot in the rotation, started in the Marlins' 9-6 loss to the Twins on Monday, going one inning, allowing two runs on a home run and a walk.

Left-hander Justin Nicolino, who is also competing for a spot in the rotation, followed Urena to the mound. The Twins roughed him up for five runs (four earned) on four hits and a walk in one-third of an inning.

But manager Don Mattingly said he is not going to let early spring games color his judgment.

"First outing for me is just first outing, good, bad or whatever," Mattingly said. "We got a lot of time, so we don't want to judge [Urena] because he gives up a run or whatever. And the same with Nico. Both of those guys, we want to really give them a chance to get their feet wet. We got a long spring. They're going to get a lot of outings. We'll see where they go from there."

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Urena was satisfied with his performance.

"For me, everything was good because I was trying to hit down in the zone," Urena said. "That's all I wanted to do."

Urena, 25, went 4-9 with a 6.13 ERA in 28 games (12 starts) for Miami last season. The Marlins are still trying to determine if he is better suited for the rotation or bullpen.

"The jury's kind of out because I think he likes starting, but the value's kind of either way," Mattingly said. "He's durable. The times we use him out of the pen, he bounces right back. He's a guy that, the next day after his start, he's not [sore]. He's coming back feeling good the next day. So he kind of suits us either way.

"I think like most guys, they like to say, 'Hey, I'm a starter' or, 'I'm a reliever.' That seems to help them. It's just tough for us to do that right now, with trying to figure out what's he best suited for. So that's our issue. ... I think [Urena should] not worry about it. It sounds easy, right? But just prepare, get ready, keep growing and let us make the decisions, and go do your thing."

Nicolino knows what he wants to work on for his next outing.

"I would have liked to get three outs," Nicolino said. "It just was one of those days where their ground balls found holes. That's something that you can't control. If you make your pitches ... that's all you can control. I was happy with locations. I thought I was spotting the ball in well.

"I think the one lefty [J.B Shuck] just shot it past me, and the next guys did a good job of getting the ball down the line. But I was happy with location. The changeup wasn't there. But, all in all, I felt really good."

Nicolino, a second-round pick by Toronto in 2010, went 3-6 with a 4.99 ERA in 18 games, including 13 starts, last season for the Marlins.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.