After 10 years of playing in the minor leagues, veteran utility man Ed Lucas finally got the call up he had been hoping for Tuesday when the Marlins designated infielder Nick Green for assignment and selected the contract of Lucas, 31, from Triple A New Orleans.
Lucas, a former eighth-round pick of the Royals and the oldest player in the Marlins organization who had yet to play at the big-league level, is expected to be used all over the field while the Marlins wait for several of their injured players to return.
“It was a pretty big surprise,” said Lucas, who was hitting .304 with five homers and 14 RBI for the Zephyrs. “I’d been doing OK. But it’s been 10 years, and to finally get that call … At some point, you kind of stopped expecting and kind of put it in the back of your mind, hoping it will come.”
Lucas said he and his New Orleans teammates were running sprints before their game Tuesday when manager Ron Hassey called the entire team into the clubhouse “and broke the good news in front of everybody.”
“Lot of hugs, lot of congratulations, especially in my case just because I’ve been around so long,” said Lucas, who in 925 career minor-league games is a .278 hitter with 66 homers and 418 RBI. “I think a lot of people who have put in a lot of time can relate to my situation. … In this kind of day in age, it’s dog eat dog. It was nice to get some heartfelt appreciation.”
Lucas said his parents, who live about four hours north of Miami in Deltona, along with his sister and fiancée were making the trip down for Wednesday’s game.
Just like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did before Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Marlins decided to honor the young life and spirit of local cancer victim Bella Rodriguez-Torres, who passed away Tuesday after a six-year battle with a rare, aggressive form of the disease.
The team hung a jersey with the phrase “#LiveLikeBella” in its dugout during Wednesday’s game against the Rays. On Tuesday, Wade and James wrote the same phrase on their sneakers before they played the Pacers.
Rodriguez-Torres’s fight against cancer made news over the past few years as her story picked up steam on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
This and that
• All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, out since April 30, is still fighting his way back from a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Stanton said he has been picking up his speed while running on the outfield grass and simulating the cuts he needs to make while running the bases. But he still isn’t going at full speed.
• First baseman Logan Morrison went 0 for 3 with a walk in his Double A Jacksonville Suns debut Tuesday. He’s now 4 for 26 (.154) with three RBI in seven minor-league games since beginning his rehab assignment. Manager Mike Redmond said he expects Morrison will stay in the minors until his 20-day stint ends on June 8.
• Thursday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-5, 3.65 ERA) vs. Tampa Bay Rays LHP Matt Moore (8-0, 2.21), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Friday: Marlins TBA vs. New York Mets RHP Shaun Marcum (0-5, 5.77), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: Nolasco has lost three consecutive interleague starts at home and is 2-4 with a 5.13 ERA in six career home starts against the AL.