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Roster decisions loom for Marlins as Furcal, Heaney wait in the wings

ARLINGTON, Texas -- 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 roster figures to see some tinkering soon. And there could be some moves made as early as Friday when they return home to open a 10-game home stand.

The Marlins need to create two vacancies on the 40-man roster to accommodate both players once they call upon them. 

Furcal, currently on the 60-day disabled list, has played in 11 minor league games since May 29 -- his latest rehab stint -- and he has shined. Furcal 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.

Manager Mike 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.

Justin Bour, brought up last week to be a left-handed bat off the bench and designated hitter during this seven-game road trip including four stops in American League parks, would be the likely candidate to be sent down since he still has options. But he's been pretty good so far in brief action -- picking up five hits in his first two games and getting another start Wednesday in the designated hitter spot against Rangers ace Yu Darvish.

Donovan Solano is another potential candidate who also has minor league options left.

Redmond said Wednesday when the Marlins return home the only spot to really play Bour is as a pinch-hitter, something he doesn't have a ton of experience doing since he's been an everyday first baseman in the minors.

"It's especially tough for young guys," Redmond said of Bour as a potential pinch-hitter. "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 remains to be seen. Redmond said Wednesday left-hander Randy Wolf will start Saturday, a projected landing spot for Heaney since he last pitched June 7 for Triple A New Orleans. But as it stands, Heaney is lined up to start for the Zephyrs 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.

"He's still in Triple A pitching as far as I know," Redmond repsonded when asked about Heaney on Wednesday. "I don't know what more to say. I know there's been a lot of speculation of when he's coming to the big leagues and when that's going to happen. I'm not sure when that's going to happen. But I know he's pitched down there, he's done a nice job and when that day comes you guys will be the first to know. But it's not today.

"Like I said, this is an organizational decision. And when the day comes that everybody feels he's ready to be here then he's going to be here. I can't say anything clearer than that."

> 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. 

> 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. We're not sure when we're having the baby. 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."


> Marlins (34-30): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Justin Bour DH, 8. J.T. Realmuto C, 9. Adeiny Hechavarria SS. Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (2-3, 5.93)

> Rangers (31-34): 1. Michael Choice LF, 2. Elvis Andrus SS, 3. Shin-Soo Choo DH, 4. Adrian Beltre 3B, 5. Alex Rios RF, 6. Brad Snyder 1B, 7. Leonys Martin CF, 8. Chris Gimenez C, 9. Rougned Odor 2B. RHP Yu Darvish (6-2, 2.36)