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Lucas dedicates first homer to grandfather

Lucas dedicates first homer to grandfather

Lucas dedicates first homer to grandfather

SAN FRANCISCO -- The drive may have landed in the left-field seats Saturday afternoon for Ed Lucas, but the journey began about a decade earlier.

Lucas is a story of patience and perseverance.

The 31-year-old rookie graduated from Dartmouth in 2004, and quite frankly, he wondered if his big league opportunity would ever come. It did with the Marlins when he was brought up from Triple-A New Orleans. He made his big league debut on May 30 against Tampa Bay.

On Saturday, in his 18th game and 64th at-bat, he connected on his first Major League home run. It was a drive to left in the first inning off Barry Zito of the Giants at AT&T Park.

Lucas traded an autographed bat with a fan for the baseball, which he is dedicating to his grandfather, who passed away a year ago.

On a Marlins team looking for players to step up, Lucas has become a quiet contributor. He's seen regular playing time, mostly at third base when Placido Polanco needs a breather. A utility infielder, he also has played second base against left-handed pitching. The Marlins also have used him at first base, left field and shortstop.

"It's been great," Lucas said. "I knew I was coming up here to fill a utility role. But I didn't think it was going to be getting this many starts."

Manager Mike Redmond has given Lucas chances to bat second, in front of Giancarlo Stanton.

"I've had some good time in the lineup," he said. "I've faced some lefties. It's been good. I've been trying to take it at-bat by at-bat. When Red wants to throw me in the lineup, I have one of the best hitters in the world right behind me. I'm not trying to hit a home run. I hit a home run [Saturday], but that's not what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to get on base. If I can get on base, I feel one pitch later it could be two runs very easily."

It's not uncommon over the course of a game for Lucas to switch positions on the field. He's used to playing wherever.

"I spent a long time in the Minor Leagues, and I spent a long time playing a lot of positions," he said. "Whether Red needs me in the outfield or the infield, I'm good to go."

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

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