Marlins monitoring LoMo's health as camp nears
No return timetable for converted outfielder; club otherwise in good condition
MIAMI -- Aside from Logan Morrison, the Marlins should be relatively healthy when Spring Training gets under way.
In terms of injuries, Morrison's right knee is the biggest red flag facing the team. The 25-year-old, who is converting from left field to first base, will not be running at full strength when camp opens. He may be cleared to pick up the pace toward the end of the month.
Spring Training for Miami's pitchers and catchers begins on Feb. 12 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Full-squad workouts are set for Feb. 15.
Morrison is recovering from right knee surgery, which was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo., last September. It was the second procedure to the same knee in less than a year.
"The big thing is LoMo," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "I think we're all aware of kind of where he is. Although you never really know until he gets on his legs and gets out on the field."
The knee was an issue for Morrison since last Spring Training. He tried to play through it, but ended up missing most of the second half of the season.
Morrison spent most of the offseason rehabbing in Scottsdale, Ariz. He's also being examined by a Miami physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan.
"We're going to be patient," Beinfest said. "We'll wait for him to be back. We'll work with Dr. Steadman and Dr. Kaplan on anything that's going on with the knee."
Morrison was limited to 93 games a year ago, and he was never able to get into a consistent groove. His average suffered, as he finished at .230 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs. Although there is optimism Morrison will be healthy for much of the season, there is a chance he won't be ready for Opening Day.
"I think it's premature at this point to say exactly what that timetable is until he gets on the field," Beinfest said.
As Morrison recovers, Joe Mahoney is expected to get a good look at first base in Spring Training. The Marlins claimed the 26-year-old left-handed hitter off waivers from the Orioles. Mahoney batted .265 with 29 doubles, 10 homers and 56 RBIs at Triple-A last year. He played in two games for Baltimore.
Greg Dobbs and Austin Kearns are veteran role players who also will get some work at first base.
Another player who will not be medically cleared to go full speed is outfielder Alfredo Silverio, a Rule 5 Draft pick previously in the Dodgers system. Last January, Silverio was involved in a serious automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. He sustained injuries to his neck and back, and his right elbow required Tommy John surgery.
Silverio will not be full-go to throw at the start of Spring Training. In all likelhood, he will open the season on the disabled list.
While Silverio will be eased back, the Marlins anticipate Justin Ruggiano will be at full speed. Ruggiano, the front-runner to start in center field, was a bright spot in an otherwise rough 2012 for Miami.
After being acquired in a Minor League trade with the Astros last May, Ruggiano capitalized on his opportunity, batting .313 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs in 91 games. But in the final weeks of 2012, he dealt with a sprained right shoulder.
"Ruggiano was banged up at the end of the season," Beinfest said. "He has no restrictions coming into camp."
For the most part, Miami's pitchers are healthy as Spring Training is set to begin. Reliever Jose Ceda, who had Tommy John surgery last April, is throwing off the mound. The Marlins are optimistic he can be a factor out of the bullpen early in the season.
The overall health of the club is promising as Spring Training is set to start.
"I would say, generally, we're looking pretty good heading into camp," Beinfest said.