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Solano-Lucas utility infield battle a close one

Final position player spot on roster likely to come down to versatile players

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Deciding the Marlins' utility infield spot could come down to: "Can you top this?"

Donovan Solano and Ed Lucas are frontrunners for the position, and choosing between the two will be one of the toughest decisions by management.

Being able to play shortstop is a necessity. Both can do that.

"You've got Solano and Lucas," manager Mike Redmond said. "These are guys who have a lot of versatility. Solano can play short. We didn't see him playing a lot at short last year. This year, we're trying to get him out there at short as much as possible. Eddie Lucas, we know, can play short as well."

Most of Solano's experience is at second base, and he can also play shortstop and third base.

Lucas also plays short, third, second and first base. He also can play left field and would be an emergency catcher.

The starters are pretty much set. Garrett Jones is at first base, with Rafael Furcal at second, Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop and Casey McGehee at third.

Jeff Baker can play first, third and second, as well as some outfield. He signed for two seasons, which makes him a lock to win a backup spot.

"It's going to be one of those tough decisions," Redmond said. "We have to have somebody who can back up Hech, in case anything happens to him."

The team hasn't ruled out using Furcal at shortstop, if necessary. The veteran is a career shortstop, but he is making the transition to second base. But Furcal hasn't taken any reps at shortstop this Spring Training.

"That's his natural position," Redmond said. "That would be an option for us."

If possible, the club would like to stay away from using Furcal at short.

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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{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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