Derek Dietrich optioned: Marlins making room for Rafael Furcal

Marc Serota

The Miami Marlins' demotion of Derek Dietrich does not appear to be a short-term change, because Rafael Furcal may be ready to join the Major League team from rehab shortly.

The Miami Marlins optioned Derek Dietrich to Triple-A New Orleans last night and promoted Justin Bour to the majors, but the move likely was not to make room for Bour, but another infielder set to arrive in Miami shortly. Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald has some news on Rafael Furcal's progress in his rehab stint.

> Speaking of Furcal, he'll be heading up to Double A Jacksonville on Wednsesday and playing with the Suns on Thursday Redmond said. Since returning to action May 29 with Single A Jupiter, Furcal has gone 3-for-9 at the plate with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored.

"From what I've heard he's feeling good and moving around much better than he has," Redmond said. "That's good."

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Furcal is moving up to Double-A after a travel day today, and he should start playing on Thursday. The Jacksonville Suns start a five-game series against the Tennessee Smokies starting tomorrow. If you figure that Furcal spends time through the weekend with the Suns, he could fly to Texas to meet the Marlins and play second base for the first time in a big-league game for the Fish by Monday to face the Texas Rangers.

One overarching story in 2014 has been the Marlins' impending decision between Dietrich and Furcal. When we first wrote about it, Dietrich was less than 50 plate appearances into a good season. Now, he is 150 plate appearances into a solid campaign at the plate, but the Fish have a ready-made excuse to demote him: his defense has struggled enough that Miami could justify leaving it off the field. This gives them a way to put Furcal in the lineup.

Why is having Furcal in the starting lineup important? Miami wants to provide a measure of respectability among potential free agent signings, and Furcal has yet to be given an opportunity to play his promised position. However, had Dietrich been moving along well, it is likely he would have held the position, regardless of whether Miami wanted to appease Furcal. Because he struggled so mightily in an obvious area, the Fish had the opportunity to resolve both issues without significant blame.

In less than a week's time, you should expect to see Rafael Furcal in a Marlins uniform at second base. He probably will remain there until he either gets hurt or plays himself out of the lineup. When he does, Derek Dietrich may return, but with Furcal's arrival so imminent, do not expect Dietrich back in a Fish uniform anytime soon.

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