Maxwell, Kelly among Marlins' roster moves

Maxwell, Kelly among Marlins' roster moves

JUPITER, Fla. -- A couple of proven veterans and two hard-throwing young right-handers were informed on Tuesday morning that they won't be breaking camp with the Marlins.

Outfielder Justin Maxwell, infielder Don Kelly, along with Jose Urena and Nefi Ogando were the morning moves the Marlins made before they headed to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets. There are now 35 remaining with the club.

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Maxwell and Kelly were non-roster invitees who are now free agents. Urena and Ogando were optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.

Maxwell and Kelly both had clauses in their contracts that enabled them to get out of their Minor League deals and explore the market. Both said they would entertain returning to the Marlins, perhaps to play at New Orleans.

"I'm just going to see," Kelly said. "This could end up being the best opportunity. Or if there is another opportunity out there that is better, just keep your options open and see what's available. I could be back. I might not. It's the business side of the game."

Kelly, 36, is among the most versatile utility players around, basically because he has played every position, including pitcher. In 18 Spring Training games, he was 6-for-24 (.250).

Kelly made Miami's Opening Day roster in 2015, but early in the year, he fractured a bone in his finger. In his recovery, he injured his right arm, and had Tommy John surgery last July.

"For the most part, everything just went perfect," Kelly said. "To be in a game at 7 1/2 months [from surgery], and now be 8 1/2 months out, I feel real good, real strong. I didn't know what to expect going in, but it went better than expected."

Maxwell, 32, appeared in 15 Grapefruit League games and was 5-for-22 (.227) with two homers five RBIs.

President of baseball operations Michael Hill left the door open for Maxwell also to return.

"If I can't find a job, he'd be more than happy to have me come back and wear a Marlins' uniform," Maxwell said. "It's a possibility."

Urena, groomed in the organization as a starter, is also a candidate to pitch out of the bullpen. The right-hander, whose fastball reached 99 mph this spring, posted a 5.40 ERA in 8 1/3 Grapefruit League innings.

"We'll have [Urena] starting again, because that gives him the chance to develop everything," manager Don Mattingly said. "I look at Jose a lot like [Justin Nicolino]. [Urena is] a guy who's got a tremendous arm. He's a tremendous worker. Great guy. We think he's going to be a big part of what we're going to do. We think it's probably best, right now, that he's continuing to get a little bit better, get a little more polish. So when he's coming up again, hopefully he isn't going back the other way."

Ogando had a 1.80 ERA in 7 1/3 innings this spring.

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