Marlins notebook

Miami Marlins’ Casey McGehee first to fill cleanup spot

mnavarro@MiamiHerald.comApril 1, 2014 Updated 6 hours ago

Placido Polanco, Marcell Ozuna, Logan Morrison, Justin Ruggiano, Joe Mahoney, Ed Lucas, Austin Kearns and Greg Dobbs all got a chance to hit cleanup behind Giancarlo Stanton last season.

Casey McGehee was the first to have those honors this season. Manager Mike Redmond tabbed the 31-year-old third baseman as the team’s Opening Night cleanup hitter because Redmond said he wants a right-handed bat to follow Stanton when the team faces a left-handed starting pitcher.

Getting somebody other teams fear to hit behind the Stanton is vital to the Marlins’ success. According to Fangraphs.com, only the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval (33.9 percent) saw fewer strikes than Stanton (38.2 percent) among all big-league hitters last season.

“I spent a lot of time hitting cleanup behind Prince [ Fielder] in Milwaukee,” McGehee said. “I’ve kind of used that as a frame of reference just to not get upset or let one at-bat be bigger than the next if they do decide to pitch around him, which I definitely understand.”

The Rockies have another left-hander, Brett Anderson, scheduled for Tuesday’s game, but will send right-hander Jordan Lyles to the mound Wednesday. Left-handed-hitting first baseman Garrett Jones will probably slide in behind Stanton in the lineup that night.

The last time McGehee, 31, hit cleanup in a major-league game was July 17, 2012, as a member of the Pirates. He has only started in the cleanup spot 23 times in his career, hitting .218 with three homers and eight RBI.

Furcal’s status

Rafael Furcal appears to be targeting April 14 — the day the Marlins return from their first road trip — as when he hopes to return from the disabled list.

Furcal has been battling a tender hamstring since the middle of spring training. The Marlins are being cautious with the 36-year-old second baseman, whom they paid $3.5 million to come in and serve as their leadoff hitter despite missing the entire 2013 season after Tommy John surgery.

Furcal was the first hitter to step in the box in Marlins Park history. He grounded out to short against Josh Johnson in his first at-bat, but finished 3 for 5 that night.

Color coding

It will now be possible to sometimes know what day of the week it is by the color of the Marlins’ uniforms.

Seriously.

Players will be wearing white jersey tops with black caps Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, they’ll be wearing white uniforms and red-orange caps. On Saturdays, it’ll be black uniform tops and black caps with red-orange bills. And on Sundays, they’ll wear red-orange jerseys with black caps.

Got that?

“There was an overwhelming amount of fan support for the red-orange caps last year, and we didn’t wear them,” Marlins president David Samson said. “So this year we’re bringing them back.”

Samson said the red-orange caps are the team’s biggest sellers.

•  Henry Rodriguez decided to accept a minor-league assignment at Triple A New Orleans rather than test the waters in free agency.

Coming up

•  Tuesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-6, 3.39 in 2013) vs. Colorado Rockies LHP Anderson (1-4, 6.04 in 2013), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Wednesday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (5-6, 3.59 in 2013) vs. Rockies RHP Lyles (7-9, 5.59 ERA in 2013), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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