After making team, Lucas to DL; Furcal to join him
Fractured hand opens spot for Solano; Ozuna wins center-field job over Marisnick
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Marlins' roster picture is coming into focus, but there are still a couple of issues to be resolved before Opening Day on Monday against the Rockies.
On Thursday morning, the club announced seven roster moves, leaving 27 in camp, while clearing up a number of positions.
Informed they wouldn't be breaking camp with the big league club were infielder Donovan Solano and outfielder Jake Marisnick, who both were optioned to Minor League camp. Additionally, infielders Austin Nola and Juan Diaz, outfielder Matt Angle and relievers Henry Rodriguez and Chris Hatcher were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Showing how quickly things can change, the team announced after Thursday's 6-4 win over the Cardinals that infielder Ed Lucas suffered a non-displaced fracture to the back of his left hand. Lucas, who beat out Solano for a roster spot as Miami's utility infielder, will now open on the disabled list. His injury occurred after he was struck by a Scott McGregor fastball.
Lucas' injury now means the Marlins will be recalling Solano.
Rodriguez, the hard-throwing right-hander, has an out clause in his contract, so he may choose another opportunity elsewhere. The Marlins are hopeful he will remain in the organization at Triple-A New Orleans.
Manager Mike Redmond also said Rafael Furcal likely will open the season on the disabled list, leaving second base open for Derek Dietrich to start against right-handed pitchers, and Jeff Baker as an option against lefties.
Furcal strained his left hamstring on March 15, and in recent days, he's been playing in Minor League games.
"We want to establish health with him and not feel like he has to rush," Redmond said.
Furcal, who will get a couple of days off, will join the team at Marlins Park on Monday, even if he is not available to play.
Furcal is expected to be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, and his earliest return day would be April 5. Best-case scenario, he could miss a minimum of five games. That still could be optimistic.
"Really, it's based on him and how he feels," Redmond said. "That's really the key. It could be a short thing. I know he still feels that hamstring a little bit. The most important thing is we get him healthy and get him feeling good without feeling like he's got to rush. That's probably the most important thing."
One of the toughest battles was Lucas/Solano.
Solano was Miami's regular second baseman for most of last season. In 102 big league games, his slash line was .249/.305/.316. He certainly did his part in camp to make the club, batting .313 (15-for-48) with a .346 on-base percentage.
Although he was used mostly at second last year, Solano's role is more in a utility capacity.
By sending down Marisnick, the club will go with Marcell Ozuna in center field. The 23-year-old has had a rough spring in terms of numbers, entering Thursday with a .164 (9-for-55) average. But the organization feels Ozuna is a run producer. The young outfielder went 2-for-4 and drove in a run in Thursday's win.
A year ago, Ozuna showed flashes in the big leagues, but his season was cut short in late July by a left thumb injury.
"This is that one you get caught up looking at Spring Training numbers," Redmond said. "We loved what Ozuna brought to our team last year, his energy and the power. We're looking for run producers. We're looking for guys to drive in runs. We feel like he's put a lot of pressure on himself this spring. Hopefully now he will be able to relax a little bit and go out there and play. We know he has a lot of power. We'll let him go out there and see what he can do.
"If it was an older guy, it would be an easy decision, because they have a track record. With young guys, there is always that question mark."
If Furcal is placed on the DL, then one move would be left to finalize the 25-man roster by the 3 p.m. ET Sunday deadline. Brian Bogusevic is still in camp, but he is expected to either be cut or traded in the upcoming days.
The left-handed-hitting outfielder is out of options, and barring anything unforeseen, he will not have a spot. Reed Johnson already has been informed that he will be making the team.
The Marlins will have to create 40-man roster space for Johnson.
Bogusevic was obtained in a trade with the Cubs in December for Justin Ruggiano. The veteran was being looked at as a left-handed-hitting backup option who can play all three outfield positions. But Bogusevic struggled this spring, going 8-for-46 (.174) with a double. With the Cubs last year, he hit .273 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 47 games.
Position players left in camp are: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jeff Mathis, Garrett Jones, Furcal, Dietrich, Adeiny Hechavarria, Baker, Casey McGehee, Lucas, Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Johnson, Ozuna, Greg Dobbs and Bogusevic.
The 12 pitchers and rotation are now set. Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler will start, while the bullpen will be comprised of closer Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, Carlos Marmol, A.J. Ramos, Brad Hand, Kevin Slowey and Dan Jennings.