Marlins put Infante on 15-day DL, call up Thurston

Joe Thurston waited nearly two years for another call to the

major leagues. A little bit of sleep deprivation was a small price

to pay.

He completed a cross-country journey and arrived in Miami in

plenty of time to make his debut with the Florida Marlins on Friday

night. Thurston took over at second base when Omar Infante was

placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day with a broken

right middle finger. He was in the lineup against the Cardinals,

batting seventh.

”It was a shock,” said Thurston, who has been with the

Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate from New Orleans and had to get up

about 3 a.m. to catch flights to Miami from Tucson, Ariz. in time

to make Friday’s game. ”But I’m excited to come here and help out

any way I can and help the team out.”

Thurston is 31 and broke into the majors in 2002. He logged more

than 18 games in only one season – 2009, when he got into 124 games

with St. Louis.

Thurston said he got plenty of text messages from friends on

Friday, and it’s a safe bet one other major leaguer will be sending

congratulations as well. Thurston is the second cousin of New York

Yankees ace CC Sabathia; the duo were teammates all the way from

Little League to high school in Vallejo, Calif. They’ve appeared

together at a number of offseason events over the years, and both

wear a wristband in honor of one of the teams they played with back

home.

Infante was hurt Thursday night diving for a ground ball. He had

12 hits in his last five games, raising his average from .264 to

.279 in less than a week.

”He was getting three hits a game and then he gets hurt,” said

Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison, who was in the lineup at cleanup

Friday for the first time in his major league career. ”The guy’s

tough, though. He got a base hit with a broken finger. Pretty

impressive. … Wish there was more guys like this on the

team.”

Florida also transferred Scott Cousins to the 60-day DL. He has

been out since June. And the Marlins remain without shortstop

Hanley Ramirez, who sprained his left shoulder this week, though

manager Jack McKeon said he hopes to get have him in the lineup

this weekend.

Ramirez did some throwing in front of the Marlins’ dugout during

batting practice Friday, albeit with someone else handling his

catching duties to protect his left side.

Thurston was batting .315 in 104 games in Triple-A this season,

with a .401 on-base percentage, nine home runs and 10 stolen bases.

He was one of the Marlins’ last cuts this spring and said that each

passing year without a regular role in the majors was difficult to

swallow.

Now he’s got another shot.

”It’s tough,” Thurston said. ”But I love the game. I love to

play. I play hard and have fun doing it, so that kind of helps

out.”