Lucas, Solano continue to compete for utility spot
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ed Lucas was in the starting lineup at first base on Sunday. Donovan Solano started at second as the two men continued their battle for the job of utility infielder.
For Lucas, Sunday marked his first Grapefruit League game back since he strained his left hamstring on March 13 in a game against the Tigers in Lakeland.
Now the question is, is there enough time left for him to win a place on the Marlins' Opening Day roster?
"I think so," said Lucas, who went 1-for-4 against the Tigers in Sunday's 8-4 win. "It's enough time. I was feeling good before I got hurt. I'm going to be sitting on the bench a lot when the season starts, anyway.
"My timing is there. I felt good today. My swing is not too complicated as it is. I like to keep things simple."
Depending on how quickly Rafael Furcal is able to recover from his strained hamstring, Redmond said Sunday both Lucas and Solano could be on the Opening Day roster.
"The decision could be based on Furcal -- that could affect the decision," the manager admitted.
Furcal did not make the trip to Lakeland. He has resumed running and Redmond said, "Hopefully, he'll play in a Minor League game Monday."
Although Solano has appeared in more spring games (17 to Lucas' 11) and has more at-bats (46 to 26), both players are hitting well. Solano is batting .326 and Lucas is hitting .308.
"Both guys have done a nice job this spring," Redmond said. "That's another tough decision.
"For me, it comes down to who can be the most versatile. That really is a tough decision.
"Luke has so much versatility, he's very valuable to us," Redmond continued. "He can play all the positions.
"We want to get him out there and continue to play him when we can."
The problem is, Opening Day is next Monday and Redmond has to get his regulars ready to go.