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Kotchman waiting for inflammation to go down; Mahoney eager to impress Marlins at first base

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.