MIA@PHI: Lucas puts the Marlins up with a solo shot

WASHINGTON -- From 2004 through early this season, Ed Lucas played in 925 Minor League games. Understandably, the 31-year-old rookie utility infielder wondered if he would ever see time in the big leagues.

Not only has Lucas gotten on the field, he's seen regular playing time, and he's put himself in position to be strongly considered for a roster spot in Spring Training.

Ivy League educated at Dartmouth, Lucas has shown versatility. He's seen steady time at each infield spot, and he's also been used in left field.

He's been one of Miami's hottest hitters of late, posting five straight multi-hit games, as well as getting at least one hit in 10 of his last 11 games, before going 0-for-3 with a strikeout in Friday's 8-0 loss to the Nationals in which Washington righty Jordan Zimmermann threw a two-hit shutout.

"I've got a taste, and I want to be a part of it," Lucas said. "I just want to finish the year strong, and hopefully make the club next year."

Lucas takes nothing for granted, but he's making the most of his chances. He's appeared in 88 games since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans in late May.

"Just getting called up in the first place was a gargantuan milestone for me," Lucas said. "But once I got here, and especially once I started playing regularly, I just took the mindset of, 'I've got a job to do, like any other place I've ever played.'"

The Marlins are winding down a trying season, in which they've been learning the hard way.

"We're young," Lucas said. "We're going through a transitional phase.

"In hindsight, all that time I stayed in Triple-A, moving around, playing all those positions -- all that ended up paying dividends for me. I've come here and I hope I showed the staff they can trust me at whatever position they put me at."

Yelich gets breather after tough night at plate

ATL@MIA: Yelich steams in for terrific tumbling catch

WASHINGTON -- Even though the Marlins are locked into last place, they are trying to leave their imprint on the postseason picture.

Rookie outfielder Christian Yelich is trying to take a playoff series approach into Miami's four-game set with the Nationals, who are desperately trying to make up ground in the NL Wild Card race with nine games left.

"They're trying to make the playoffs, but at the same time, we're trying to keep it from them," Yelich said. "So in a way, it's kind of our mini-playoffs. If we can go into these games with the mindset of making it count, just as much as they are. They're fighting for their lives every day, because they are one or two losses from being out of here."

The Marlins dropped a tough, 3-2, decision in the first game of the series on Thursday night. Yelich was hitless in five at-bats with three strikeouts.

Manager Mike Redmond gave the 21-year-old rookie a "mental day" off on Friday.

"That's baseball," Yelich said. "There are so many ups and downs in this game. I'm just trying to find it right now, a little bit. I'm not feeling great up there right now, and that's kind of part of it."

Yelich has been solid, batting .279 with a .360 on-base percentage in 55 games.

The left-handed hitting outfielder has noticed the little things that separate winning and losing.

"Everything is a little more magnified right now," he said. "Little mistakes like, if you have a guy on second and nobody out, and you don't get him over. That could be the game for you."

Jacob's Ride concludes at Marlins Park

Jacob Landis raises awareness for cochlear implants

WASHINGTON -- The trek is lasting 175 days and it is covering 11,000 miles, with stops at each Major League ballpark.

Jacob Landis' 30th and final stop will be on Tuesday at Marlins Park.

For the 24-year-old, pedaling through Miami's retractable-roof building will draw to a close Jacob's Ride, dubbed as "Hitting a home run for hearing."

Deaf by age 10, Landis embarked on his trip to every MLB building to raise awareness about the benefits of a cochlear implant. The implant has allowed him to hear again, and he is spreading awareness to others.

Jacob's Ride started on April 3 in his hometown of Annapolis, Md. His goal is to raise $1 million for others who could benefit from a cochlear implant, but they may not be able to afford them.

Landis works at Whole Foods in Annapolis.

Before he rides into Marlins Park prior to Tuesday's game against the Phillies, Whole Foods on Biscayne Blvd. in North Miami, is hosting a finale party for Landis from 2-5 p.m. ET.

Landis is scheduled to arrive at Marlins Park at 5:30 p.m. ET, completing his journey.

After testing his legs on the bike, Landis will loosen up his arm and throw out the ceremonial first pitch.