Furcal to play field in Minors game

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It’s still a wait-and-see if Rafael Furcal will be ready for Opening Day.

The Marlins will have a better indication after Furcal plays five innings in a Minor League game on a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter on Wednesday afternoon.

Furcal has been resting a strained left hamstring since March 15. The past two days he had been used as a designated hitter in Minor League games.

“We’ll continue to see where he’s at,” manager Mike Redmond said. “This is the first time he will be playing defense. In his last two games, he’s hit. We’ll see how it goes today, and go from there.”

It’s still unclear if Furcal will play in a Grapefruit League. game. If he does, that could be a sign the veteran infielder anticipates being ready for the season opener on Monday.

If the Marlins keep Furcal out of a Grapefruit League game, they can place him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21. If that occurs, he would be eligible to return as early as April 5, meaning he would miss just five games.

Jeff Baker could be a fallback second base option if Furcal has a brief DL stint.

Rotation update: Redmond said the rotation could be announced as early as after Thursday afternoon’s game against the Cardinals. Only Jose Fernandez starting on Opening Day has formally been announced. The rest of the rotation is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler. Brad Hand is in the mix for the fifth spot, and he will start on Thursday.

Hechavarria: Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is still nursing a tight groin. The team is hopeful he will be fine for Opening Day.

Center field: Marcell Ozuna certainly is playing his way back into the starting job in center field. Ozuna has shown improvements over the past week to 10 days, and appears to be the frontrunner. Jake Marisnick has had a terrific Spring Training, and he’s working on refining his swing. It is appearing likely that Marisnick will start off at Triple-A New Orleans.

Joe Frisaro

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