It's a baby-step. But it's progress.
Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison flew out to Vail, Colo. Tuesday to visit with Dr. Richard Steadman, five months after having a second surgery on his right knee to repair a torn patella tendon. He tweeted out the following message about half an hour ago to provide an update on his status.
Just got cleared to run.. on a treadmill.. In a anti gravity bubble.Baby step, but I'll take it. Never thought I was going to this excited— Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) February 19, 2013
Prior to Tuesday's news, Morrison had only been cleared to walk on a treadmill. He was hoping he would be cleared to run on the field as well. Still, this was good news.
"This is exactly what we wanted to hear," Morrison's agent, Fred Wray, told our Clark Spencer.
Wray said that if there are no setbacks, Morrison could be playing by April 15, "assuming that’s what the Marlins want to do."
"The way he's progressing, at the rate he's progressing, that looks like it's going to be the target date," Wray said.
Morrison, who hit just .230 with 11 homers and 36 RBI last season in just 93 games, told reporters before the start of spring training his status for the season opener was questionable. He had surgery on the same knee Dec. 5, 2011. That procedure was less invasive than the surgery he had in September, but Morrison said he was never completely healthy during spring training 2012.
The Marlins obviously will take their time to make sure he's fully healed before putting him back out on the field this time around.
In the meantime, veteran Greg Dobbs and Joe Mahoney, a 26-year old left-handed bat scooped up from the Orioles, continue to work primarily at first base. The Marlins signed journeyman Casey Kotchman on Friday to add depth at first base. But Kotchman sliced his left ring finger Monday running into a fly-ball machine and needed four stitches to patch up the wound.
Manager Mike Redmond said Tuesday Kotchman will likely be out for a few days. The Marlins' first spring training game is Saturday in Jupiter against the Cardinals.
A FEW MORE NOTES FROM TUESDAY IN JUPITER
"He came to my door and said 'Red I'm here reporting for duty,'" Redmond said. "He said, 'I'm just going to go out there and do what I do.' It was probably 7:30 a.m."
McKeon then went and got on the treadmill according to Redmond for his usual morning workout.
"Jack and I have had several conversations already," Redmond said. "He was very supportive of me getting the job and in my corner. I know he's in my corner. If anything ever comes up, I'd never hesitate to ask him."
Redmond, who played for McKeon on the 2003 World Series team, said McKeon's strength as a manager was his loyalty to his players.
"He stuck with you. It didn't matter if you were struggling, 0-for-20, he'd keep running you out there until you got it," Redmond said. "At the same time, too, he was able to get the bench guys and all of us on board to what we're doing and trying to accomplish. He made everyone accountable for their job and role on the team. It worked. He's had a lot of success."
> The Marlins will replace batting practice with simulated games Wednesday and Thursday, “just to mix it up,” Redmond said. Although there will be a defense on the field, nobody will be running Redmond said.
“These live BPs are not hitters’ favorites,” Redmond said. “We’re going to make it a little more realistic for everybody, not just the pitchers.”
> The Marlins announced Tuesday they agreed to 2013 contracts with the following players: pitchers Steve Cishek, Tom Koehler, Scott Maine, Edgar Olmos, Evan Reed; catcher Kyle Skipworth; first baseman Joe Mahoney and outfielders Kyle Jensen and Alfredo Silverio.
JUPITER -- Once the inflammation goes down on his sliced left ring finger, Casey Kotchman said he will have a better idea of when he might be able to get back on the field for the Marlins.
The 29-year old veteran first baseman -- signed to a minor league contract last Friday to help provide some depth at first base with Logan Morrison still healing from knee surgery -- received four stitches Monday after he ran into the stationed machine that was flinging pop files to infielders.
“When I hit the pitching machine, I grabbed it,” Kotchman said. “When I grabbed it, the wheel was kind of cutting my finger. I guess, instead of hitting it over, I held onto it, and kind of picked it up, and it just kept slicing.”
“I just got some stitches in it, and we’ll see how it feels. It's day-to-day. I think the tentative plan is to let it calm down for now, and see how it progresses.”
Teammate Greg Dobbs teased Kotchman a little in the clubhouse Tuesday morning.
"Dude if the machine falls and breaks the drill is over," Dobbs told Kotchman.
"Yeah I'm trying to be a gentleman to the machine, [not] throw it down on the ground," he responded. "But it sounds like [my] teammates would have been happy if the drill was over and the machine got broke."
The Marlins play their first spring training game Saturday in Jupiter against the Cardinals. Kotchman, who has played for six teams over the past five seasons and hit .229 with 12 homers and 55 RBI last season in 142 games in Cleveland, said he wasn't sure if he would be ready by then. He has yet to throw or grab a bat since slicing his finger. He also scraped his middle finger in the incident.
Morrison, who had a second surgery on his right knee last September, was in Veil, Colo. Tuesday morning being examined by Dr. Richard Steadman. Morrison is expected to find out Tuesday if he is cleared for running.
In the meantime, the Marlins figure to give the majority of their first base work to Joe Mahoney. The 6-6, 240-pound left-handed bat spent all of his career with the Orioles before being selected off waivers by the Marlins Nov. 30.
In 2010, Mahoney was the Orioles' Minor League Player of the Year. The 26-year old Albany, N.Y. native hit .307 with 18 homers, 78 RBI and 13 stolen bases that season in High-A and Double-A ball. Last season, he hit .265 with 10 homers and 56 RBI in Triple A Norfolk.
"They want me to do my thing, be myself, play good defense at first and in the outfield if they need me, bring to the table what I can," Mahoney said of the Marlins. "Hopefully I fit into their plans."
Mahoney said he played about 10 games a year in the outfield for the Orioles - left and right field. He played in just two games for the Orioles last season and went 0-for-4.
> Veteran infielder Placido Polanco said Tuesday he will have to go back to his dentist in a week or two to have a root canal procedure. Polanco missed practice Monday to see the dentist, but said he won't miss any more time until he returns for his procedure.