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Will One Sanchez Lead to Another?


               Some familiar old faces -- and some missing ones -- at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Saw Aaron Boone taking batting practice with the Astros as the former Marlin and Red Sox killer continues to make his way back from open heart surgery. But sent packing was Pudge Rodriguez, who was traded to the Texas Rangers.

               Now to the Marlins side, where Gaby Sanchez was back with the club after being called up from Triple A New Orleans. With Nick Johnson nursing a tight right hamstring, Sanchez gives manager Fredi Gonzalez a backup option at the corners. Ross Gload is starting at first base in Johnson' splace tonight. Johnson said the injury, which he sustained Sunday, is "feeling better" but did not sound optimistic about playing in the Houston series.

               To make room for Sanchez, the Marlins optioned Rick VandenHurk to New Orleans.So does mean Anibal Sanchez, who turned in a rehab outing Monday night for Double A Jacksonville, now slide into the rotation? Most likely, though Gonzalez did not rule out bringing back VandenHurk. The only thing that is certain is that whoever it is will start on Friday in Atlanta. Gonzalez is moving Chris Volstad back a day -- to Saturday -- to give him extra rest between starts.

               Sanchez gave up only one hit during his outing, but it was a 2-run homer. He also went just 3 1/3 innings, totaling 45 pitches. But Gonzalez said the abbreviated stint was "by design" and would allow Sanchez to start Friday -- four days after his Double A appearance. Sanchez also struck out five while walking only one during Monday night's outing.

               Tonight's lineups as the Marlins try to become the first team since the 1937 St. Louis Browns to record at least 14 consecutive games with 10 or more hits. The last NL team to do it was the 1929 New York Giants.

               Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Ross Gload, 1b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 5. John Baker, c; 6. Dan Uggla, 2b; 7. Cody Ross, cf; 8. Jeremy Hermida, rf; 9. Ricky Nolasco, p.

               Astros: 1. Michael Bourn, cf; 2. Miguel Tejada, ss; 3. Lance Berkman, 1b; 4. Carlos Lee, lf; 5. Geoff Blum, 3b; 6. Hunter Pence, rf; 7. Kazuo Matsui, 2b; 8. Chris Coste, c; 9. Bud Norris, p. 

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