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After shaky start, Eovaldi settles down vs. Twins

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After shaky start, Eovaldi settles down vs. Twins play video for After shaky start, Eovaldi settles down vs. Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The rain kept the Marlins and Twins from playing all nine at Hammond Stadium on Monday, but starter Nathan Eovaldi was at least able to get all of his work in.

While it has not been officially announced, all signs point to Eovaldi being the Marlins' No. 2 starter behind Ricky Nolasco when the season gets under way. He threw five innings for the second straight outing, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out three.

"It was good to see Eovaldi out there," manager Mike Redmond said. "At least he got his innings and work in before the rain. He did a nice job. He gave up a couple of runs, but it was good to see him grind through it and get his command back and finish up strong."

Eovaldi struggled through a two-run first, walking leadoff hitter Aaron Hicks before serving up a two-run homer to Brian Dozier. After a Joe Mauer single, he was able to escape further damage, though some of the outs were hit sharply.

After that, he really settled down, allowing single hits in the third, fourth and fifth innings, and the Twins were unable to push any more runs across the board.

"I couldn't really find it the first inning," said Eovaldi, whose spring ERA now stands at 3.38 ERA over 18 2/3 innings. "Everything was going too fast, and I wasn't really able to slow it down. I was just out there throwing, basically. After that first inning, I was able to regroup, let the first inning go and start all over. I was able to lock it in after that."

At this point, with a rotation spot all but officially guaranteed, Eovaldi is ramping up to being ready for the start of the season. He is no longer working on specific pitches, instead focusing on his game plan, throwing strike one and letting his four-pitch repertoire work for him.

"It's just working ahead," Eovaldi said. "I have four pitches to my advantage, so it's really just going out there and attacking [hitters] with what's working for me today.

"With my fastball, if I'm able to locate it, it helps everything else out. They have to respect the fastball. You throw all your other pitches off your fastball, too, so if you're locating that, working ahead in counts, it makes it a little easier out there."

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow Less

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