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VandenHurk stepping up for Marlins

VandenHurk stepping up for Marlins

JUPITER, Fla. -- Rounding out the rotation is becoming a more difficult task for Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.

On Sunday afternoon, Rick VandenHurk stepped up with a solid effort, giving up two runs (one earned) in four innings. In all, the native of the Netherlands scattered four hits and he rebounded from his own mistake when he committed two errors on a sacrifice play.

"He got himself in a little bit of a jam, but he minimized the damage," Gonzalez said. "He got through that inning. I'm impressed. He keeps getting better, and he keeps improving."

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The way VandenHurk worked out of the third inning was encouraging. He allowed a one-out single to Aaron Boone, and then Tim Redding dropped a sacrifice bunt.

VandenHurk misplayed the slow roller, and by the time he retrieved the ball, he flipped it well over the head of Dan Uggla, who was covering first. It put runners on the corners. Cristian Guzman's sacrifice fly opened the scoring, but the inning ended on Paul Lo Duca's groundout.

VandenHurk threw 48 pitches, 34 for strikes, on a day where he went mostly with his fastball for a couple of innings before easing in his breaking pitches.

The Marlins have announced two of their four starting pitchers for when the season starts. Mark Hendrickson will take the mound on Opening Day, which is March 31, and Scott Olsen is slotted fourth, on April 4. Because of two early off-days, the club will carry four starters until April 13.

VandenHurk is in the hunt with Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad and Burke Badenhop.

"I'm taking it day by day; this is still Spring Training -- we have five or six days left," said VandenHurk, who will next start on Thursday against the Cardinals in the club's final game at Roger Dean Stadium. "I'm going to make sure every time I got out in the game, I'm going to attack the hitters, and show them [the staff] that I can handle it. That's what I'm going to try to do."

VandenHurk also touched on putting his pair of errors behind him on Sunday.

"Those are just giving away outs," he said. "I just have to work on getting it and flipping it over there. That was not very good. I'm going to work on that."

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

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