Finally. Only one day remains before Marlins pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Jupiter. The Marlins, White Sox and Rangers are the last teams to get things going. The report date sounds much more significant than it actually is, as players are required to do nothing more than phone in and say, 'I'm here.' As far as actual activity is concerned, pitcher and catchers will conduct their first workout Wednesday afternoon -- after they've completed their medical physicals -- on the back diamonds at Roger Dean Stadium.
Barring some unexpected turn of events, reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo will not be part of the festivities. The pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez remains in the Dominican Republic as he continues to seek legal clearance to return to the U.S. The Marlins aren't sure when Oviedo, who is on their restricted list and doesn't count toward the 40-man roster, will be given the green light. But team preident David Samson said last month that it is more likely than not that Oviedo will not be on the Opening Day roster. If and when Oviedo receives clearance -- and the consensus belief is that he will return at some point in the near future -- he could still face disciplinary action from the league.
His absence helps assure competition for a bullpen spot or two, with relievers such as Jose Ceda, Chris Hatcher, Sandy Rosario, Evan Reed, and Chad Gaudin (a non-roster invite) figuring to be in the mix. Barring injuries, the fixtures are expected to be Heath Bell, Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Randy Choate and Steve Cishek. That leaves two spots, one of which will presumably go to a long man, possibly Wade LeBlanc.