VIERA -- The Marlins are playing a pair of split squad games today -- one against the Nationals here in Viera and the other in Lake Buena Vista against the Braves. I'll be in Viera for the game against the Nationals, where manager Fredi Gonzalez plans to closely watch the pitching outings of Rick VandenHurk and Hayden Penn. Ace Josh Johnson will be pitching against the Braves.
"I just want to see good quality pitches, see them get ahead in the count," Gonzalez said. "No walks, pound the strike zone."
A couple notes from Gonzalez this morning...
> Outfielder Cameron Maybin appears to be ahead of schedule in his return from a groin injury. Gonzalez said Maybin, who pulled his groin trying to score from first on March 7th, could play as early as Wednesday "He's doing the full scale running and everything looks good," Gonzalez said. "So maybe tomorrow he'll get a couple at-bats."
> Right hander Chris Volstad had a rough day Monday and his ERA isn't very pretty, but Gonzalez said he saw things he liked from the 23-year old -- specifically the way his sinker was moving. "I thought yesterday the linescore was worse than he pitched," Gonzalez said. "Sometimes, walks bother you. But yesterday, the four walks didn't bother you quite as much because you saw that ball running. You saw the depth on the sinker, which is a good sign. You saw him getting some ground balls, which was a good sign."
> Outfielder Mike Stanton stayed back in Jupiter Tuesday instead of following the team to Jupiter. Gonzalez said Stanton had a little soreness in his left elbow, but it was nothing serious. "It happened from hitting the ball too hard," Gonzalez joked. "I think this guy works so hard and takes so many swings he probably irritated it a little bit."
> As expected, shortstop Hanley Ramirez made the trip to Lake Buena Vista Tuesday after sitting out of Monday's game with tightness in his groin.
> Catcher John Baker (strained right forearm) made the trip to Viera and will get a pinch hit opportunity. "We won't play him in a game until he throws to the bases," Gonzalez said. "He might do that later this week."
> Outfielder Cody Ross, who doubled Monday in his first start since March 4th, will play against the Nationals Tuesday before getting a day off Wednesday. Consider it precautionary for his sore groin.
> Third baseman Jorge Cantu (stomach virus) worked out in the morning in Jupiter and is expected back in the lineup Wednesday. First baseman Mike Lamb (stomach virus) was scratched from Tuesday's lineup against the Braves and was replaced by Gaby Sanchez.