Furcal hopes to return in less than six weeks

Furcal hopes to return in less than six weeks

MIAMI -- Marlins second baseman Rafael Furcal said Tuesday he could return from a Grade 3 left hamstring strain in early August. The 36-year-old was diagnosed with the injury and placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 22 with no timetable for his return.

But Furcal said before his team's first game against the Phillies that he could be ready to return sooner than expected. Doctors told him he would need at least six weeks from when he injured himself before he could get back in a game.

"I think every day I get better and better and I think [it will be] less than that," he said. "I'm very optimistic [about coming back this year]."

Furcal strained his hamstring on June 21 when he tried to leg out a double-play grounder in the third inning against the Mets.

Furcal missed the first two months of the season with a different hamstring injury that he sustained in Spring Training and a groin strain suffered during his rehab. He finally made his Marlins debut on June 13 and ended up starting in eight games before hurting himself again.

"It's tough for me," Furcal said. "[I did] a lot of exercise, I get it strong, and then when I get to Spring Training, I was feeling good. Then that happened and it was very frustrating.

"I'm very positive. I hope [I'll be back]."

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