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.
The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.
Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:
I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.
In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.
“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”
Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.
For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.