The Marlins signed Rafael Furcal to a one-year, $3.5 million deal over the winter with the idea of using him as their regular second baseman and leadoff hitter, but he has yet to make his season debut due to injury. And now it looks like the wait will be even longer.
Furcal, who was forced to begin the year on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, suffered a groin strain last Friday during his first attempt at a minor league rehab assignment. While the 36-year-old returned to action last night with Double-A Jacksonville, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that he exited after four innings after reporting renewed groin discomfort.
“He’s super frustrated,” said Suns’ manager Andy Barkett, who has known Furcal for 15 years and was one of his Dominican winter ball teammates. “I’m doing all I can and he’s doing all he can. His body is just not cooperating with him right now.
Furcal went 1-for-2 with a single before exiting. He’s scheduled to be reevaluated today.
The Marlins have relied on multiple players at second base with Furcal on the shelf, including Derek Dietrich, Donovan Solano, Jeff Baker, and Ed Lucas. While they have combined for an underwhelming .214/.325/.311 batting line, they rank first in the National League with 19 runs scored and are tied for fifth with 13 RBI.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.
The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.
Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.
The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.