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Marlins 25-man roster almost set; Furcal bound for the DL

JUPITER -- The 25-man roster heading south to Marlins Park for Opening Night is almost set.

The Marlins on Thursday morning informed seven players they won't be making the big league team and will be reassigned to the minors: infielders Donovan Solano, Juan Diaz and Austin Nola, outfielders Jake Marisnick and Matt Angle and right-handed relievers Henry Rodriguez and Chris Hatcher.

Manager Mike Redmond said second baseman Rafael Furcal will begin the season on the disabled list, leaving a spot for Derek Dietrich on the 25-man roster. Furcal, out since March 15th with a strained hamstring, is going to be given a few days off to rest before a final rehab plan is set.

Redmond said it is still undetermined if Dietrich will start at second base on Opening Night. It could be Jeff Baker.

The only other issues left to be resolved before Monday night's opener: who will be the team's other outfielder -- Brian Bogusevic or Marcell Ozuna -- and who will be the fifth starter, left-hander Brad Hand or right-hander Tom Koehler.

Redmond said the team is hopeful it can keep Rodriguez, a non-roster invitee, in the system. 

As for the open outfield job, that probably won't be decided until Sunday night, Redmond said.

Ozuna, who has minor league options left, is hitting .164 this spring with 18 strikeouts. Bogusevic, the player the Marlins acquired in the Justin Ruggiano trade with the Cubs, is out of options. He's hitting .174 with 10 strikeouts this spring.

Marisnick, reassigned to Triple A New Orleans along with Solano, was hitting .432 this spring with five doubles and four stolen bases.

"There's no doubt [Ozuna] hasn't had a great spring," Redmond said. "So that made the decision even tougher. We just felt like Jake needed to go down [to the minors] and continue to play. There's no doubt that this guy is the center fielder of the future for us. Jake has got a lot of weapons. He can do a lot. We just felt he needed to go down there and continue to get some more at-bats. So that day when he comes it's for good and he's out there every single day. That's it. 

"Bogusevic is out of options and so we've talked to him. We'll make our final decision on Sunday when we have to set the roster."

By giving Furcal a few days off, the Marlins will keep the 36-year old eligible to come off the disabled  six games into the regular season (April 6th). But Redmond made it clear the Marlins want Furcal to be right when he returns, so it may be longer especially since Furcal didn't get many at-bats.

"We know this guy is a gamer and a warrior and he wants to be out there," Redmond said. "At the same time too we need him for the long haul. We need him over the course of the season and we need to make sure we're doing the right thing for him and he's doing the right thing for himself and get him healthy and 100 percent so he can play five or six days in a row and not just one or two. That's the important thing for him." 

What do Thursday's move mean? The bullpen is pretty much set with closer Steve Cishek, setup man A.J. Ramos, long reliever Kevin Slowey, right-hander Carlos Marmol and left-handers Mike Dunn and Dan Jennings. Whomever loses the fifth starter's job --  Hand or Koehler -- will also make the team and serve as a long reliever. 

The bench is also set and will feature left-handed pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs, catcher Jeff Mathis, outfielder Reed Johnson and utility man Ed Lucas.

So why Lucas over Solano? "At the end it just comes down Ed Lucas is more versatile," Redmond said.

"He can play first, play the outfield. He's the emergency catcher if we need him. So he can just do a couple of other things. They both had great springs. Solano is a great young infielder that can do a lot of great things. The beauty of it is he's still in our system and still available to us if we need him down the road."

Redmond pointed to a few reasons why the hard-throwing Rodriguez didn't make the team.

"He's been banged up over the last couple of years, only pitched 25 innings the last couple of years," Redmond said. "I think he's a guy who we would love to be able to keep in the system and kind of pitch and get himself back into good throwing condition and get some innings with him. This guy has got an amazing arm. He's throwing 100 miles per hour.

"It's just the things we talked about -- having command. He just hasn't pitched that much for us. The role we see him in having so many young pitchers, we need guys down there that can throw multiple innings. We just don't feel right now he's able to do that. But I hope we're able to keep him in the system and build him up. You never know."


> Marlins (17-11-2): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Jarrod Saltalmacchia C, 6. Derek Dietrich 2B, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Casey McGehee 3B, 9. Brad Hand LHP

> Cardinals (11-12-2): 1. Matt Carpeneter 3B, 2. Jhonny Peralta SS, 3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Allen Craig RF, 5. Matt Adams 1B, 6. Tony Cruz C, 7. Kolten Wong 2B, 8. Peter Bourjos CF, 9. Michael Wacha RHP