Rehabbing Furcal playing role of cheerleader

Rehabbing Furcal playing role of cheerleader

MIAMI -- A strained hamstring may be keeping Marlins second baseman Rafael Furcal out of the lineup, but it hasn't diminished the 36-year-old's importance on the team.

Furcal is doing his part to root on his teammates and offer pointers when necessary.

Thus far, the club has offered plenty to cheer about.

"We've got a good team," Furcal said. "We're playing good. We keep fighting. That's the way it should be. I'm so happy. When you play that way, anything can happen."

Furcal strained his hamstring during a Grapefruit League game on March 15. He opened the season on the disabled list, retroactive to March 21.

On Monday, the veteran will head to the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., to join extended spring training. Once he is running without discomfort and cleared to play in games, he will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter.

Furcal is expected to need pretty much all of the 21 days allotted for his rehab assignment. So he may not be ready to return until late April or early May.

With Furcal out, Jeff Baker and Derek Dietrich have been handling second base.

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