Rafael Furcal nearing rehab assignment for oblique injury

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Jonathan Broxton is slated to begin his rehab assignment tonight at Triple-A and Rafael Furcal may not be far behind, as Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles reports that the injured shortstop could start a rehab stint of his own as soon as Monday.

Furcal has been out since June 4 with a strained left oblique muscle that was initially expected to sideline him for at least a month.

He was able to field ground balls, make throws, and even take batting practice from the right side of the plate yesterday, but Jackson notes that the big test will come when the switch-hitter tries some swings from the left side.

Dee Gordon has held his own in Furcal’s place, filling in as the shortstop and leadoff man, but his hitting .280 with little power or plate discipline presumably hasn’t impressed enough for the 23-year-old rookie to keep a starting job once Furcal returns.

Marlins sign Sean Burnett to minor league deal

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Free agent reliever Sean Burnett signed a minor-league pact with the Marlins on Saturday. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the left-hander is slated to begin the season in extended spring training and will work toward a role in the majors.

Burnett, 35, has not appeared in full-time role in MLB since 2012. He last pitched for a big league team in 2016, surfacing for 5 2/3 innings with the Nationals before returning to the minors. Despite signing a minor-league deal with the Phillies last spring, he failed to make the Opening Day roster and was released prior to the start of the season.

Complicating Burnett’s return is a slew of chronic elbow issues. The left-hander has dealt with everything from bone spurs to a torn UCL over the last six years, and will need to take things slowly in the minors before the Marlins consider adding him to the bullpen this season.