"He's ready to play at the Major League level, but right now, he's behind a guy [Hanley Ramirez] who was the [National League] Rookie of the Year."
Ramirez, who left Tuesday's game and sat out Thursday's game with a right groin strain, wasted no time making his presence known in his return, leading off Friday's game with a double and scoring on Dan Uggla's subsequent double.
Ramirez showed no signs of any discomfort running the bases, or maneuvering at shortstop on defense. He played six full innings, and Gonzalez said Ramirez would start again on Saturday against the Mets. Gonzalez was also optimistic he would remain in the lineup again on Sunday versus the Red Sox.
Andino had impressed in only a short time this spring, especially on defense, commiting no errors. The 22-year-old suffered a stiff back after a collision with infielder Alfredo Amezaga on March 10, but on Wednesday, he had five at-bats in a Minor League game. In Thursday's 2-1 win against St. Louis, with Ramirez given another day to rest his right groin, Andino got the start at shortstop.
Andino has been mentioned in at least one trade rumor, but the Marlins don't appear in any rush to move the Miami native.
"I'm sure a lot of teams want him," Gonzalez said. "He's a sprained ankle away from coming back up to the big leagues and helping us."
Hermida sees doctor: Outfielder Jeremy Hermida left Marlins camp early Friday morning to see a doctor, most likely regarding the foul ball which hit his kneecap on Saturday in his third at-bat against the Orioles. Since then, Hermida has been getting treatment. On Sunday, an X-ray was taken for precautionary reasons, but it came back negative.
Hermida saw his first game action since the injury on Thursday when he played in a Minor League game on a back field at Roger Dean Stadium. Leading off every inning, Hermida was 1-for-5 with a home run, but the knee was still sore.
Hermida had said he was going to play in a Minor League game on Friday morning, but the 23-year-old left in street clothes.
"His knee's sore, and the clock ticks against you this time of the year," general manager Larry Beinfest said. "As far as Hermida, he's not playing right now, he's not available, the knee is sore ... we'll see.
"It's a weird thing, you foul a ball off the knee, and all of a sudden you're missing some time -- it's tough."
In 12 Spring Training games, Hermida had two hits and 11 strikeouts. A former first-round draft pick, Hermida had 307 at-bats in his injury-plagued 2006 season.
Tankersley feeling strong: Left-hander Taylor Tankersley threw another bullpen session on Friday, and will throw batting practice either Sunday or Monday in the latest step in his recovery from shoulder inflammation.
Tankersley threw 35 pitches off a mound -- 10 more than in his last bullpen session -- and said he "felt good" and "felt no pain." He hopes to throw in a Grapefruit League game either Tuesday or Wednesday.
"I didn't throw as many strikes as I would have liked, but I'm throwing full-tilt now," said Tankersely, who before his shoulder problem was a candidate for the Marlins' closer job.
Tankersley, 24, was 2-1 with three saves and a 2.85 ERA in 49 games during his rookie campaign last season.
Reed anxious for more ABs: Eric Reed, vying for the center-field job with Alex Sanchez and rookie Alejandro De Aza, would like some more at-bats to prove he is the top choice.
"I'm going to try and finish strong," said Reed, who was batting .379 in 29 at-bats prior to Friday's game. "I still have no idea what's going on, so I'm just trying my best. No one's talked to me about it."
Gonzalez knows the competition is fierce among the candidates.
"It's a great competition, and it's up to me and the coaching staff to come up with what's the best thing for each particular player, what's best for the organization, and the best thing for the team," Gonzalez said.
Reed has made two errors in center field this spring, while both De Aza and Sanchez both have none. De Aza is batting .387 in 31 at-bats, and Sanchez .171 in 35 at-bats. Sanchez started in center on Friday, but Reed replaced him in the sixth.
Close, but no closer: Whether it's Matt Lindstrom, Kevin Gregg or Henry Owens -- or someone else -- Gonzalez plans on naming just one closer for Opening Day, and the decision may not be made until then.
"Whoever it is will be given an opportunity to be the closer," Gonzalez said. "The guys we have in mind ... mentally could do it -- we don't need to give them a week in advance."
Since the late innings in Spring Training are far from the pressure of a big-league closing situation, Gonzalez said it is hard to gauge how someone will do in front of more than 40,000 fans screaming while you're on the mound, making the decision that much tougher.
Hello, old friend: The Marlins will face their 2003 World Series Most Valuable Player on Sunday in Fort Myers, Fla., against the Red Sox.
Josh Beckett helped Florida win its second World Series title by throwing a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 title-clinching victory at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 25, 2003. The Marlins traded Beckett, along with third baseman Mike Lowell and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota, to the Red Sox for Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia on Nov. 24, 2005.
Quotable: "There's no easy way to do it. I get up in the middle of the night thinking about it, but I think the best way to do it is to be honest and tell the truth." -- Gonzalez, on making final cuts for Opening Day
Short hops: Catcher Nick Trzesniak, signed as a free agent on Nov. 1, was reassigned to the Minor Leagues. ... The Marlins now have 40 players in Major League camp. ... Left fielder Josh Willingham made a nice diving catch by the left-field line in the seventh inning.
Up next: Left-hander Scott Olsen will make his next-to-last Spring Training start for the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday in Jupiter, Fla., against the Mets. Olsen, who will pitch the second game of the regular season April 3, goes up against Mets right-hander John Maine.
Officials at Roger Dean Stadium expect another big crowd. At Sunday's Cardinals-Mets game, the second-largest crowd in the stadium's history (8,393) was in attendance.