VandenHurk stays on track for rotation

VandenHurk stays on track for rotation

JUPITER, Fla. -- Rick VandenHurk remains on course to win a rotation spot.

Although the Marlins were off on Wednesday, VandenHurk drew the assignment of throwing five innings in a Triple-A game in the morning.

Pitching for Albuquerque, VandenHurk got his work in against the Cardinals' Triple-A squad.

The 6-foot-5 right-hander gave up three runs on three hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out five.

In the scrimmage, the Cardinals had power-hitting outfielder Chris Duncan bat every inning, which set up good challenges.

In one stretch of consecutive innings, VandenHurk gave up a single to Duncan and then struck him out. Duncan followed with a double in the fifth inning.

With two outs in the fifth, VandenHurk surrendered a three-run homer to Joe Mather.

Overall, VandenHurk got his work in, and he was able to further refine his breaking ball.

The Marlins have yet to announce their rotation, but the way VandenHurk is throwing, his chances of earning a spot are good.

The Marlins are going with a four-man rotation until April 13 because of two early off-days. At that point, they will slide in a fifth starter.

Competing for rotation spots are Mark Hendrickson -- believed to be the front-runner to start on Opening Day -- Andrew Miller, VandenHurk, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, Scott Olsen and Burke Badenhop.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.