Possible Opening Day batting order

JUPITER, Fla. — It’s 13 days and counting until the Marlins open on March 31 against the Rockies at Marlins Park.

Here’s what we know about the projected starting lineup: Rafael Furcal is nursing a left hamstring strain and Marcell Ozuna has had his struggles. So that leaves questions at second base and center field.

There is still time for Furcal to get healthy and be ready, and it’s too early to count Ozuna out of the Opening Day lineup.

But based on what we know at this point, on this date, the Marlins have to be looking at all their options. And they are. That’s why Derek Dietrich started at second base on Tuesday in Miami’s 8-1 win over the Astros. And Jake Marisnick was in center field.

In recent days, Christian Yelich and Brian Bogusevic also have seen time in center field. Donovan Solano has seen time at shortstop and second base. We also know Ed Lucas (left hamstring) is at least a couple of days away from game action.

For speculation purposes only, here is my projected Opening Day lineup and batting order. It is based on my observations and input from a number of people. This is not what manager Mike Redmond has indicated or openly said.

If the opener was right now, here is what it very well might look like: Christian Yelich (CF), Derek Dietrich (2B), Giancarlo Stanton (RF), Garrett Jones (1B), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C), Casey McGehee (3B), Jeff Baker (LF), Adeiny Hechavarria (SS) and Jose Fernandez (P).

Why Dietrich over Solano? My thinking is Solano, who plays shortstop, is being looked at more in a utility role. Why Baker over Reed Johnson or Brian Bogusevic? He gives a little mroe offense, and allows Johnson to be the right-handed pinch-hit option.

Why no Ozuna? To get his swing right, maybe a brief Minor League stint would be helpful. Same holds true for Marisnick.

Why no Furcal? Furcal could open the season on the DL, retro to March 21, which makes him eligible to be back on April 5.

At a later date, I’ll project the rotation, bullpen and bench.

Joe Frisaro

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