Marlins options at second base

JUPITER, Fla. — The Marlins remain hopeful Rafael Furcal will be just fine, and ready for Opening Day on March 31.

In the next few days we will know whether that is wishful thinking.

Furcal aggravated his left hamstring in the third inning of Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium.

The 36-year-old was lifted for a pinch-runner five days after he intially strained the hamstring.

Saturday was his first time in the lineup since Monday against the Mets at Port St. Lucie.

So what’s next?

Furcal was not scheduled to travel to Fort Myers on Sunday to take on the Twins. So Monday would be the earliest he could return, but that appears highly unlikely.

He needed five days of treatment to get back on the field on Saturday. If he needs to miss five more days, then he will have just over a week to get ready for the opener.

If Furcal does open the season on the disabled list, there is a chance he wouldn’t have to miss much time.

The Marlins could place the veteran on the DL, retroactive to March 21. That’s the earliest retro date available. In that is the course the club takes, Furcal could be reinstated 15 days later, which would be April 5, the team’s sixth game.

As long as Furcal is out, the Marlins will have intense competition at second base for the rest of camp. Derek Dietrich, who is having a solid Spring Training, could have an inside edge.

Donovan Solano, who played regularly there the past two years, is another option.

Ed Lucas is competing for a utility spot, but he is missing a few days now due to a strained left hamstring.

Along with playing second base, Furcal also is the projected leadoff hitter. Who bats first would be another question. The answer could depend on who replaces Furcal.

If it is Solano, chances are he would lead off. Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton would follow.

If Dietrich is the choice, Yelich likely would lead off, with Dietrich batting second, and Stanton third.

More answers should be known in the upcoming few days.

Joe Frisaro

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