Although a magnetic resonance imaging did not reveal any structural damage, the Marlins decided to place Nolasco on the 15-day DL and promote right-hander Rick Vanden Hurk, 21, from Double A Carolina to take Nolasco's assigned start tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Vanden Hurk, a native of the Netherlands, has never pitched above Single A.
The Marlins' coaching staff sensed something wasn't right with Nolasco when he made a relief appearance Friday and gave up three hits, including a three-run homer, against the Phillies.
''The last couple of times out, his stuff wasn't there,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``It [the ball] wasn't coming out any good. It could be a dead-arm period, and we want to be cautious.''
Vanden Hurk is a relative unknown within the Marlins' farm system. He was scouted in the Netherlands, signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2002 and spent all four of his minor-league seasons at the Single A or Rookie levels.
He missed most of the 2005 and '06 seasons after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery, making only eight starts last season. He has a career minor-league record of 5-12.
I'm not that excited about Vanden Hurk getting the call. I still remember in 2005 when the Marlins called up some kid, whose name escapes me at the present, who had more pitching experience than Rick and he got shelled. The kid had nice stuff but was completely overmatched. He was sent down immediately after the game and was never the same again. The club eventually traded him.
While I would rather see someone from the Isotopes take the hill, I don't expect the same fate, as the kid in 2005, to fall to Rick.
Vanden Hurk has talent and he may do just fine, but this is a crap shoot with a good young arm. The problem that concerns me the most is not his start in JRS. The size of the park and Marlins defense should be able to bailout most mistakes. The problem will be in his second start which will be in Houston in that beautiful bandbox they call a stadium.
Hopefully, he will do an excellent job. And there is no doubt he could and that I'm just worrying too much. But still, something is nagging at me.