Miami Marlins infielder Ed Lucas refuses to give up. At age 31, Lucas received an opportunity to make his major league debut and play for the Marlins a season ago, and with spring training underway, the utility man is looking to overcome adversity once again.
Fighting for a spot on Miami's 25-man roster, Lucas has adopted what the Miami Herald called a "humble approach" early on this spring.
"I want to come in here and act like I haven't made the team," Lucas said in an interview with the Herald. "I'm proud of what happened last year. But it's a new year, and I need to approach it the same way I would have coming in as a minor-league free agent. That's why I wanted to keep 59, because I didn't want to make any assumptions."
Lucas, who spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues before being promoted, was one of the few bright spots for Miami in 2013. In 94 games with Miami, he batted .256 with a .311 on-base percentage. He also played all four infield positions as well as left field.
With Greg Dobbs, Brian Bogusevic, Jeff Baker, and Jeff Mathis expected to break camp as members of the Marlins' bench, Lucas will battle Donovan Solano for the utility infielder spot. Of the two, Manager Mike Redmond may favor Lucas because of his flexibility and ability to play shortstop.
"That's going to be one of those tough decisions," Redmond said. "We've got to have someone who can back up [Adeiny] Hechavarria in case anything happens to him, or if we give him the day off."
Lucas may also be the more intriguing candidate because he can play first base. Should Redmond want Baker and another right-handed batter in the lineup against a lefty, Lucas can replace Garrett Jones, who has struggled against lefties. In 43 games against left-handed pitchers last season, Lucas batted .330 with three home runs.
"These are both guys who have a lot of versatility," Redmond said. "That's going to be a battle all spring for those guys, trying to get on the team as a utility guy."
Having gained experience last season, Lucas isn't concerned about the internal competition.
"If anything, there's less pressure, just because I have that added level of confidence," Lucas said "I know I can get the job done at this level, and I know the staff has seen me do that. I just want to be trusted at any position on the field in any given game situation."