Infielder Ed Lucas isn’t your average major-league rookie.
Lucas is 31, a veteran of 10 minor-league seasons and an Ivy League graduate.
On Wednesday, Lucas spent his first day in a major-league uniform after being recalled by the Marlins from Triple-A New Orleans. To make room on the roster, Miami designated Nick Green for assignment. Green hit .236 with one home run and six RBIs in 18 games with the Marlins.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said Lucas, who was batting .304 with a team-high five home runs at New Orleans. “After 10 years, you kind of stop expecting it. You’re not going to get very far if you worry about that every day. It was a huge surprise, but an absolute pleasure.”
Lucas graduated from Dartmouth with sociology and economics degrees in 2004, the same year he was drafted in the eighth round by the Kansas City Royals.
After playing with three organizations and nine minor-league affiliates in the past nine seasons, Lucas signed with the Marlins as a minor-league free agent last December.
Lucas stuck with baseball as his college buddies went on to successful, high-paying careers.
“It’s a tough situation,” Lucas said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of players out there that have student loans piled up like I do. It’s been an interesting experience for me as I’ve toiled away in the minor leagues, but I can finally say, at least for a day, that’s it’s paid off.”
Lucas, whose fiancée is expecting their baby in October, was used mostly as a shortstop in New Orleans but can play every infield position plus the two corner outfield spots.
Besides versatility, the 6-foot-3, 208-pound Lucas has something else going for him. He’s playing for a manager in Mike Redmond who can relate to his story as a longtime minor-leaguer finally getting his chance. Redmond spent six seasons in the minors before getting his chance.
“This is the fun part of the job,” Redmond said. “You get to bring a kid to the big leagues who has been in the minor leagues forever. I’m excited and can’t wait to get him in there. Hopefully, he’ll get a hit in his first at-bat.”
Noteworthy: Redmond said first baseman Logan Morrison (knee) will likely remain on his minor-league rehab assignment for the full 20 days. That means Morrison won’t be eligible to return to the Marlins until June 8. … No decision has been made on who will right-hander replace Alex Sanabia (groin) in the starting rotation, Redmond said. … Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) continues “progressing” towards a rehab assignment. “It’s up to him now as to when he’ll be ready to start,” Redmond said.