Miami Marlins utility infielder Ed Lucas made the team out of spring training. But after being hit by a pitch last Thursday in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Lucas opened the year on the 15-day DL. Lucas had surgery on his left hand on Wednesday, which adds initially unexpected time to his rehab.
The procedure was reportedly to insert a pin in Lucas' third metacarpal.
"They are putting a pin in to make sure it heals straight," Lucas said in an MLB.com interview.
Lucas was first thought to miss four to six weeks as a result of the injury, however after the procedure, the timeline appears to be five to seven weeks. Instead of Lucas, Donovan Solano broke camp as Miami's utility infielder. Solano made a pinch hitting appearance Tuesday, but Lucas' versatility will be missed. He can play every infield position and can even serve as an emergency backup catcher if it were necessary.
Jeff Baker also gives the Marlins versatility, and was solid on Monday and Tuesday against a pair of Rockies' left-handed starting pitchers. Like Baker, Lucas hits well against lefties, and when he does come off of the disabled list, will allow Manager Mike Redmond to make defensive substitutions late in games.
Lucas and Rafael Furcal, signed to be the starting second baseman, are the two Marlins who opened the season on the DL. Furcal's injury was significant because it gave an opportunity to Derek Dietrich, who made his first start of 2014 on Wednesday night.
Based on his rookie year wth the Marlins last season, Lucas is projected to bat a mere .231 with a .283 on-base percentage in 2014. But when the value of his versatility is taken into consideration, Lucas is a valuable asset. Solano is restricted to second base and has been inconsistently offensively. While Lucas may not be the best offensive option, his defense and ability to make occasional spot starts make his DL stint significant and untimely.