It was well known to the Miami Marlins that Rafael Furcal was an injury-prone player, even in his earlier productive years with Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. After a certain point in his career, he began earning the reputation for missing large chunks of playing time during the season for injury, and doing so consistently. His last few years have included missing time for various leg injuries and a lost 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
It was not long until Furcal showed that in 2014. He injured himself before the season began, hurting his hamstring in Spring Training and sidelining himself for two months after a rehab setback. He returned this month to Miami, taking his promised spot at second base, but in just nine games, it looks as though he will return to the disabled list with another hamstring injury. Furcal suffered the injury in Saturday afternoon's 4-0 loss to the New York Mets. He tried to outrun a double play grounder and came up limping just prior to hitting the bag.
Furcal was placed on the disabled list yesterday, and from manager Mike Redmond's words, it sounds as though his stay may be lengthy.
"It's going to be a while for him. It looks like it could be an extensive thing," Redmond said before the finale of the four-game series against the division-rival Mets at Marlins Park.
Of course, for Marlins fans, this is a silver lining. The worst-kept secret among Fish fans is that they wanted Derek Dietrich to return to the lineup from Triple-A and resume hitting like he had before the team demoted him for defensive problems. Dietrich was dominating Triple-A while away from the big leagues, putting up six homers in 58 plate appearances while hitting .340/.421/.720 (.487 wOBA) for the New Orleans Zephyrs. But while the team was more than happy to leave him to waste his offensive talents down in the minors, the Fish had no choice but to bring him up now that Furcal has suffered another long-term injury.
Last season, Giancarlo Stanton took a month and a half to recover from his hamstring injury that occurred on a similar play. It should take at least that long for Furcal to recover, meaning that Miami will spend at least half of the remaining season with Dietrich as their primary second baseman. That should improve the offensive output while hurting the team's defense as expected. But knowing that Dietrich is a better overall player than their alternatives, the Fish should benefit from the injury.
It was only a matter of time until Furcal landed himself back on the disabled list, so it should not surprise Marlins fans to see Dietrich back so soon and for regular playing time.