MIAMI — All spring training long the Miami Marlins preached versatility — guys who could play multiple positions and help the club in a variety of ways.
Miami designated pinch-hit specialist Greg Dobbs for assignment while reinstating utility player Ed Lucas from the disabled list Tuesday afternoon.
Dobbs was just 1 for 13 with four strikeouts as a pinch-hitter this season. He had signed a deal last year worth $1.7 million.
The 35-year-old is a career .246 pinch-hitter in 431 plate appearances with 97 hits — 22 doubles, two triples, 10 homers and 76 RBI. He batted just .208 last season in that role, but he also played 50 games at first base and one in right field.
This likely means the end of his tenure with the Marlins. Dobbs is in his fourth year with the organization. Should he clear waivers and decline the assignment, he can be traded or sign with another team.
"Great guy, tremendous long-time player. The best in the big leagues at what he did, and that was pinch-hit," general manager Dan Jennings said. "We just felt like where he was at this time in his career and us needing the versatility to have guys who could play multiple positions where we were it was important for us to have it at this point.
"That was the reason behind it. It is never a good thing when you have to move a player, certainly someone who has meant as much to us as Dobbs has. It was time for us as an organization to make that move, and Ed was ready to go."
Lucas went on the 15-day disabled list to start the season with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand after getting hit by a fastball during the final spring training game in Jupiter.
Earlier that day he had learned he made the team by posting a .333 average, a double, a triple, a homer and five RBI.
"The timing of it, too, finding out I made the Opening Day roster and later that day getting put on the shelf wasn’t a good situation and a mental hurdle, but I feel good," said Lucas, who plans on wearing a protective pad over his batting glove. "I was able to come out here even when I was hurt and run around, sit on the bench, be part of the team, shag, start taking ground balls."
After 10 seasons in the minors, the 31-year-old earned his major-league debut on May 30, 2013. He hit .256 with 14 doubles, one triple, four homers and 28 RBI in 94 games as a rookie.
The initial prognosis called for a recovery of 4 to 6 weeks. Lucas recently played in three rehab games with Single-A Jupiter. He went 6 for 14 (.429) with three runs, two walks and two RBI.
Instead of sending down Donovan Solano, who is batting .238 with an RBI in 11 games in Lucas’ place, both utility players will be on the 25-man roster. The pair can play various positions in the infield and outfield. Lucas will serve as the emergency catcher behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jeff Mathis.
Manager Mike Redmond inserted Lucas second in Tuesday night’s batting order playing second base against Braves lefty Alex Wood.
"The way it felt then I never thought it would be possible, but since I had the surgery came back quick and feel nice and strong now, happy to be here," Lucas said of his return. "Saw quite a few righties and a couple lefty at-bats. I felt good at the plate, seeing the ball, saw some decent pitching, different kinds of pitching, too. Hit some line drives, and I felt ready and I guess they thought I was ready too."