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Final Bullpen Spot Comes Down to Wood and VandenHurk as McClung Released


  The Marlins released Seth McClung this morning, which ruins any thoughts of his staging a "Bullpen Olympics" in South Florida this summer as he once did in Milwaukee with the Brewers. Oh well.

  So that leaves just two internal candidates for the bullpen: right-handers Tim Wood and Rick VandenHurk. Wood, obviously, has done it before. For VandenHurk, though, coming out of the pen would be a new role, one that manager Fredi Gonzalez said he believes the Dutch hurler can handle.

  VandenHurk came out of the pen the other day to throw one inning of scoreless relief against the Houston Astros and noticed that his fastball was blazing -- 3 to 4 miles per hour greater than it usually is when he starts. VandenHurk also provides the bullpen with an extra long man to go with Burke Badenhop.

  "I think he could be valuable to us in that role, a second long guy, if you want to label him that," Gonzalez said of VandenHurk. "You may see better stuff from him at that (one) inning stint. Usually that's what happens. Starters, you ask them to convert to the bullpen, and their miles per hours go three to four more because they're just coming in blowing. They're not going to come in and try to set the slider with the change-up. They're just going to come in and blow. And we saw that the other day against Houston here."

  -- Cameron Maybin is back in the lineup today after being taken out in the third inning on Monday due to tightness in his groin. Hanley Ramirez gets the day off.

  -- Sean West will likely start the season on the disabled list for Triple A New Orleans due to a bad back. The Marlins think it'll be two to three weeks before West, who was sent down after he experienced control issues early in spring training, can get back on the mound for N.O.

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