Marlins release utility infielder Figgins

JUPITER, Fla. -- On a youthful Marlins' squad, Chone Figgins was viewed as a candidate to bring the team a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old super utility player is widely respected for his work ethic and ability to play pretty much any position on the field.

But at a time when the team is making tough decisions, Figgins had his hopes of becoming a Marlin end on Wednesday afternoon.

After the Marlins' 7-5 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday, the team released Figgins, reducing its number of players in camp to 42.

Figgins signed as a non-roster invitee on Feb. 8. A switch-hitter, Figgins has been competing for a backup spot.

In Grapefruit League play, Figgins batted .308 (8-for-26).

Releasing Figgins enhances Nick Green's chances of making the team as the primary middle infielder. Green also is a non-roster invitee. The fact that Green plays a solid defensive shortstop is working to his advantage.

Other middle infield candidates are Chris Valaika and Matt Downs, both non-roster invitees.

Figgins broke in with the Angels in 2002, and he's a .277 career hitter.

In 2007, he batted .330.

Figgins was with the Mariners from 2010-12, and he's struggled the past two years, batting .181 in 166 at-bats a year ago.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter