2/27/2014 7:02 P.M. ET
Furcal to make Marlins debut on Saturday
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Miami's first Grapefruit League game is set for Friday. Rafael Furcal will debut on Saturday.
The Marlins are in no rush to push the 36-year-old, who is converting to second base and returning from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
Physically, Furcal is fine. But the team is giving the veteran periodic no-throw days. Wednesday was one of them.
Manager Mike Redmond said Furcal will play on Saturday.
Miami has a split-squad day set for Saturday. The Marlins face St. Louis at Roger Dean Stadium, and Furcal will play in that game. Their other game will be against the Mets at Port St. Lucie.
"He feels great," Redmond said. "Everything is good. His legs are good. His arm is good. We're going to ease him into it. He's a guy who has been banged up the past couple of years. We need him for the long haul."
Furcal missed all of last year due to his surgery.
In 2012 with St. Louis, he appeared in 121 games.
"I know it's not going to take him a ton of time getting him ready for Opening Day," Redmond said. "We've been monitoring his work all spring. Those guys have been throwing a lot, taking a lot of ground balls, and making a lot of throws."
Nicolino takes positive approach after debut
JUPITER, Fla. -- Getting pulled after 1 2/3 innings wasn't the first impression Marlins lefty prospect Justin Nicolino envisioned making on Thursday afternoon.
It happened. It's baseball. It's also nothing that the 22-year-old is fretting about as he moves forward in Spring Training.
Nicolino's line against Florida International University wasn't pretty -- five runs on seven hits and a quick exit after 49 pitches instead of his slated two innings.
The Marlins did pick Nicolino up, rallying to a 9-5 win at Roger Dean Stadium.
"I tip my cap to them. They came out with an approach," Nicolino said. "I was working on some things. They beat me. It's good to see where I was at today. Obviously, not the start I wanted. But it happens. It's baseball. Anyone can get beaten any day. It doesn't matter if it's college."
The positives Nicolino took are that he fielded his position well and threw strikes, working mostly off his fastball.
But with two outs in the second inning, after allowing two straight hits, manager Mike Redmond walked to the mound to make a change.
"When I saw Red, I was frustrated," Nicolino said. "I was more disappointed in myself. They played great behind me. I didn't give myself the opportunities to get out of those jams. It's never good to see Red come out to get you before he was supposed to."
The Marlins used their second straight exhibition against a college team to get a number of young players into the game.
Miami's first run, however, came courtesy of veteran Ty Wigginton, who at 36 is the oldest player in camp. Wigginton belted a home run in the second inning. The game-changing hit for Miami was Austin Nola's three-run triple in a six-run sixth inning.
Nicolino also got some defensive help in the first inning when right fielder Matt Angel jumped over the small wall in foul territory and onto the grass to snare Louis Silverio's fly ball.
"Really, throughout the day, we had chances to put away some of their hitters, we didn't," Redmond said. "We missed up in the zone quite a bit, especially when we were ahead in the count."
Dietrich plays the field in search of roster spot
JUPITER, Fla. -- Versatility is going to be part of Derek Dietrich's game.
The way the Marlins see it, it has to be.
The organization is giving Dietrich opportunities at third base and second base. On Thursday, he got the starting nod at second in Miami's 9-5 exhibition win over Florida International University.
To Dietrich, it doesn't matter where he plays, as long as he gets a chance to be in the lineup.
"Any way you can help the team," Dietrich said. "As long as my bat is in the lineup, I have a chance to help the team, whether it is at third, short, it doesn't matter, as long as you have a chance to help the team win. That's all I'm looking for."
Dietrich delivered a two-run triple in the third inning on Thursday, once again showing he has the potential to add lefty power.
A year ago, Dietrich got his first big league break, playing in 57 games and collecting 215 at-bats. Rushed to the big leagues because Donovan Solano was injured in May, Dietrich got off to a hot start, but he cooled off and in late July he was optioned back to Double-A Jacksonville.
In three months, he batted .214 with a .275 on-base percentage, and provided some punch. His nine home runs were the most by any Miami left-handed hitter. Counting his Double-A totals, he finished with 20 homers.
With Rafael Furcal now on the team, Dietrich has increased his work load at third base. But he still is getting action at second. He estimates he is at third 60 percent of the time.
"We saw second base was a fairly easy transition for him," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's like anything, if you hit, you force us to find a spot for him."
Colin Moran is projected as the third baseman of the future, and Furcal is signed to a one-year deal. So Dietrich may wind up at second next year. Nothing is set.
"Down the road, it just depends on where we're going to need him," Redmond said. "If it is going to be at third base or if it's going to be at second. With his bat, if he hits, he will make you find a spot for him down the road.
"Right now, we want to see what he can do at those different positions. Maybe he is a third baseman or maybe he is a second baseman for us down the road. That's what we're trying to figure out."
Fox Sports Florida to televise 150 games
JUPITER, Fla. -- Fox Sports Florida is scheduled to televise 150 Marlins games, the team announced Thursday.
Before Opening Day on March 31 against the Rockies at Marlins Park, Fox Sports Florida will also broadcast five Spring Training games.
Tommy Hutton returns for his 18th season as the team's television analyst, while Rich Waltz is back for his 10th season handling play-by-play.
Craig Minervini will be the pregame host and in-game reporter, while Allison Williams will be the in-game feature reporter, and host of Inside the Marlins.
FOX Sports Florida will get things going on Opening Day with a special one-hour pregame show, beginning at 6 p.m. ET on March 31.
Home and away game telecasts will feature half-hour Marlins LIVE pregame shows and all will offer post-game coverage.
Former Marlins Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson are part of the broadcast team.
The Marlins have a scheduled nationally televised game set on FOX Sports 1 against the Braves on May 31, at 4:10 p.m. ET.
Two other games will be televised on Fox's Sun Sports, on June 4-5, against the Rays.
• Jose Fernandez will pitch no more than two innings on Friday. St. Louis is starting Carlos Martinez. Also pitching for the Marlins are Tom Koehler, Chaz Roe, Mike Dunn, Dan Jennings, Chris Hatcher and Sam Dyson.
• For Saturday's split-squad, Nathan Eovaldi will start against the Cardinals in Jupiter. Lance Lynn will throw for St. Louis. Kevin Slowey gets the nod Saturday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. New York is set to start John Lannan. On Sunday, Brad Hand will start against the Nationals in Viera.