Outlook: Yelich should bring speed, pop to Marlins

MIAMI -- Seeing a steady diet of left-handed starting pitching, Marlins manager Mike Redmond on Friday decided to make a switch at the top of his batting order.

Adeiny Hechavarria was in the leadoff spot in place of Christian Yelich, who didn't start.

The decision was two-fold. It gets Reed Johnson a chance to start his first game, while giving the left-handed hitting Yelich a breather against southpaws.

In the first five games, the Marlins have faced four lefties. On Friday night, the Padres went with southpaw Eric Stults.

"We've run up against a bunch of lefties," Redmond said. "This is a chance to get Reed in there, and give him a chance to get some at-bats."

Yelich, 22, is a promising young hitter, who has been leading off because Rafael Furcal (left hamstring) is on the disabled list.

Yelich is 1-for-10 against lefties this year, and 3-for-19 (.158) overall. On Thursday afternoon, he stepped up with the game-tying RBI single in the eighth inning in Miami's 8-5 win over the Rockies.

"I feel comfortable," Yelich said. "I've had some good at-bats. The results haven't been there. Obviously, it's only been four games."

On Saturday night, Yelich is expected to return to the leadoff spot against hard-throwing right-hander Andrew Cashner.

"I think his approach has been fine," Redmond said. "Maybe the one disadvantage for him is we didn't face hardly any lefties in Spring Training. Then to come right out of the chute and face four or five in a row, that's hard. Obviously, he hasn't had a whole lot of success up to the point against lefties.

"But I still feel great with him up at the plate. Yesterday, he didn't kill that ball, but he ended up getting a big hit. I still feel great about him in that leadoff spot. I feel he's going to make the adjustment. It's just going to take a little time. He's got to stay with it."

Furcal, Lucas staying active while on DL

Furcal transitioning from shortstop to second base

MIAMI -- When the Marlins are on the field going through pregame drills, Rafael Furcal is getting some work done.

On the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, Furcal is taking batting practice, and fielding grounders at second base.

It's still unclear when he will be back in game action. But before the end of the weekend, the team should have a more defined plan.

"He's hitting with the guys, and running a little bit," manager Mike Redmond said. "In the next couple of days we'll get with him and get a game plan."

The Marlins wrap up their homestand Sunday and are off Monday before they open at Washington on Tuesday.

Furcal will remain in South Florida getting his treatment. When he is ready for more advanced baseball drills, he will head to the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter and work with the Minor Leaguers.

Before being reinstated, he will play in rehab assignment games.

Infielder Ed Lucas had the protective cast removed from his left hand, and he is doing limited baseball activities.

Lucas suffered a broken left hand after being hit by a pitch at the end of Spring Training. He had surgery to insert a pin in his hand to help the bone heal straight.

Lucas is doing conditioning and keeping his arm loose by throwing. However, he isn't hitting or catching with a glove.

Lucas is expected to miss four to six weeks.

"It's nice that he's going to be able to keep his legs in shape, and keep his arm in shape, and run around a little bit," Redmond said. "It's just a matter of when that day comes and he can swing the bat again."

McGehee assuming many roles

COL@MIA: McGehee's RBI triple makes it a one-run game

MIAMI -- The Marlins aren't hesitating putting things on Casey McGehee's plate.

Already, the 31-year-old is handling third base, and he is batting cleanup against left-handed pitchers. McGehee has impressed with his production, like three doubles, a triple and eight RBIs in the first four games.

He's also broken up a potential double play, which kept an inning alive that resulted in an RBI for Garrett Jones.

Manager Mike Redmond also has informed McGehee that he is the emergency third catcher.

Initially, the role was going to Ed Lucas.

But on March 27, the day Lucas was informed he had made the team as a utility player, he fractured a bone in his left hand after being struck by a pitch.

McGehee actually has experience catching. He's caught 100 games in the Minors in 2008.

"Red told me I was allowed to tell you guys I was the emergency catcher, at least until Lucas came back. And then we were going to have a tryout," McGehee said.

It's only on the rarest of occasions that an emergency catcher is needed. So odds are he will not be behind the plate. Still, McGehee welcomes the opportunity to wear the gear.

"That's the sick part about it. I actually do want to get back there again," he said. "Maybe not in a close game. I've been aggravating [bench coach Rob] Leary about it since Spring Training, because they said Lucas is the emergency guy. I caught 100 games. I couldn't be that bad back there."

Worth noting

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was back in the lineup Friday, after he was given a breather Thursday afternoon. Saltalamacchia did pinch-hit in the eighth inning in Thursday's win over the Rockies. Redmond went with Saltalamacchia to pinch-hit instead of Greg Dobbs because he felt he was primed to deliver a big hit. Instead, he struck out.