With second baseman Rafael Furcal looking healthy and playing well in the minors and top prospect Andrew Heaney appearing primed and ready to go, the Marlins look like they’ll be making some roster moves soon.
And the first one is likely to be made Friday — to welcome Furcal — when they return home to open a 10-game homestand. After Wednesday’s 6-0 loss to the Rangers, the Marlins optioned first baseman Justin Bour to Triple A New Orleans. They will announce a corresponding move Friday, manager Mike Redmond said.
Furcal, who is on the 60-day disabled list, has played in 11 minor-league games since May 29 — his latest rehab stint. He picked up two more hits Tuesday night for Single A Jupiter, raising his average to .341 (14 for 41) with seven runs scored and four stolen bases since his latest return from hamstring and groin injuries.
Redmond said the Marlins moved Furcal back to Jupiter from Double A Jacksonville (where he played five games) for logistical reasons.
But it looks a lot more like so he doesn’t have to travel very far when the Marlins finally announce he’s ready to go.
Bour, brought up last week to be a left-handed bat off the bench and designated hitter during the team’s seven-game road trip that included two stops at American League parks, played in three games and impressed with five hits.
Redmond thinks Bour has potential down the road as a left-handed pinch-hitter.
“It’s especially tough for young guys,” Redmond said. “But his swing is pretty short. I think he would have the ability to do it. He’s patient. He waits to get good pitches to hit and he doesn’t try to do too much. Those are all signs that lead me to believe he could be successful in that role.”
As for Heaney, when he comes up he’ll be moving into the starting rotation. But when exactly that happens and who gets moved out of the rotation remains to be seen.
Redmond said Wednesday that left-hander Randy Wolf will start Saturday, a projected landing spot for Heaney because he last pitched June 7 for Triple A New Orleans. But as it stands, Heaney is lined up to start for the Zephyrs on Thursday night in El Paso, Texas.
If Heaney pitches Thursday for the Zephyrs, he would be in line to make his next start Tuesday — either for the Zephyrs again, or at Marlins Park against the visiting Cubs. That’s currently the spot where Jacob Turner is supposed to make his next start after facing the Rangers on Wednesday.
Although Nathan Eovaldi is lined up to pitch Friday against the Pirates, should his wife go into labor Redmond said the Marlins could easily adjust their rotation by moving Wolf (Saturday’s starter) and Henderson Alvarez (Sunday’s scheduled starter) each up a day because of Thursday’s off day. Eovaldi’s wife is back home in Texas.
“It shouldn’t be an issue,” Eovaldi said. “[Pitching coach] Chuck [ Hernandz] said, once I get the call, I’m coming out of the game. If it doesn’t happen any day now, it will happen Sunday. I’d probably come to the field and throw a bullpen on Sunday and leave after that, and be back Wednesday.”• Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who resumed baseball activities on Tuesday after being cleared of concussion symptoms, is in line to play his first rehab game Monday in Jupiter, Redmond said.
COMING UP• Thursday : Off day.
• Friday : Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.27 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates LHP Jeff Locke (0-1, 5.11), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.