Healthy Morris poised to deliver late for Marlins

Reliever, key piece of club's 2014 bullpen, moving past nagging injuries

Healthy Morris poised to deliver late for Marlins

JUPITER, Fla. -- At last, everything is progressing smoothly for Marlins reliever Bryan Morris. It's taken a while becaue the hard-throwing right-hander has gone through some tough luck.

Morris' 2014 season was cut short in September due to a left groin strain. And he was set back for about a week in Spring Training with a small scratch on his left cornea, the result of sleeping while wearing his contact lens.

"I had that little issue where I had that little scratch on my cornea, but that didn't push me back too much," Morris said. "It kept me out of a game a week longer than I wanted."

Morris pitched 1 1/3 innings -- appearing in just his second Grapefruit League game -- on Tuesday against the Cardinals, allowing one hit, a Jhonny Peralta homer, and striking out a batter. Previously, he had thrown just one inning.

Morris gets big strikeout

On Saturday, Morris threw two innings in a simulated game on the back field.

"Everything feels good," Morris said. "My arm strength is where it needs to be at this point of the spring."

Morris says he is on course to be ready for Opening Day on April 6 against Atlanta.

The Marlins are banking on Morris being one of their primary right-handed setup options, along with A.J. Ramos.

Miami acquired Morris from the Pirates last June, and in 40 2/3 innings after the trade, he posted a 0.66 ERA.

The groin issue is no longer a problem for him.

"I took a few weeks [in September] and let it heal up, and I was OK," the reliever said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.