Finally healthy, Furcal excited for Marlins debut

Finally healthy, Furcal excited for Marlins debut

JUPITER, Fla. -- Rafael Furcal may be one of the oldest players in Marlins' camp, but he has the enthusiasm of a rookie when it comes to playing in Grapefruit League games.

"I'm very excited to get back on the field," Furcal said. "I'm so excited, I feel like a kid. To come back, it's very special for me."

The Marlins opened their Grapefruit League schedule on Friday, but Furcal has to wait until Saturday before he gets on the field.

Furcal, 36, will lead off and play second base for Miami against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

After missing all of last year because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, Furcal is being eased back into action.

With the Cardinals a year ago, Furcal dealt with arm discomfort, and he only played in one Grapefruit League game. It was against the Red Sox, and he had two at-bats against lefty Jon Lester.

"Now, I'm ready to go," Furcal said.

That wasn't the case last spring. A switch-hitter, Furcal only felt comfortable batting from the right side.

"Now, I'm glad that both sides are good," Furcal said.

A career shortstop, Furcal is making the transition to second, where he is picking up pointers daily from infield coach Perry Hill.

"I worked at second base a long time ago," said Furcal, who last played the position in the big leagues in 2002. "It's the big leagues, everything changes. The way people slide, everything. To make a double play, it's different. I'm glad I'm working with one of the best infield coaches. He will help me out a lot."

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