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Back stiffness forces Polanco to take a day off; Heaney reassigned to rehab; Ruggiano hopes to return this week

JUPITER -- The Marlins had concerns about Placido Polanco's back when they signed the 37-year old third baseman back in December. 

Polanco's back finally flared up Saturday after practice. But according to the two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner the pain isn't serious and he likely will only need a few days off as a precautionary measure.

"I should be ready for Tuesday," said Polanco, who will also rest during the Marlins' day off Monday. "It's not bad. I'm feeling good right now. It has nothing to do with what happened before. It's something to be on the safe side. If the season started today I could go."

The Marlins have always liked Polanco. The question has always been his health. In 2012, Polanco was bothered by back injuries, and he appeared in 90 games, batting .257 with two home runs and 19 RBIs. Lower back problems also plagued him in 2011, a season during which he also dealt with a sports hernia injury. He missed 40 games that season and 30 games in 2010.

"I think obviously a guy who has been banged up a little bit in the past we make sure we take care of him," Redmond said. "We want him to be healthy over the course of the season. So, if we got to hold him back a little bit in spring training and make sure we get him in when the it counts that's what most important. We're definitely going to have to monitor him. Me and him have talked about it, being on the same page. I think we are."

> The Marlins announced that 2012 first round pick and left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney has been reassigned to rehab with a strained lat muscle. Heaney, who went 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA in six minor league starts last season, had yet to appear this spring.

> Center fielder Justin Ruggiano (strained back) said Sunday he feels a lot better and is hopeful he will return to game action this coming week. He started playing catch Thursday, hit in the batting cage Saturday and ran for the first time since hurting himself two weeks ago on Sunday.

"It takes me a good while to get my timing down and get my legs underneath me so I'm kind of chomping at the bit to get back out there," Ruggiano said. "It's feeling a lot better."

SUNDAY'S LINEUPS

> Mets (2-3-3): 1. Jordany Valdespin 2B, 2. Omar Quintanilla SS, 3. John Buck C, 4. Mike Baxter RF, 5. Andrew Brown LF, 6. Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF, 7. Jamie Hoffman DH, 8. Brandon Hicks 3B, 9. Josh Satin 1B. RHP Dillon Gee.

> Marlins (3-3-2): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Rob Brantly C, 4. Casey Kotchman 1B, 5. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 6. Chris Coghlan RF, 7. Chris Valaika 3B, 8. Derek Dietrich DH, 9. Gorkys Hernandez CF. RHP Nathan Eovaldi. 

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