Ailing Marlins making strides

Ailing Marlins making strides

JUPITER, Fla. -- For the first time since March 12, Marlins catcher Matt Treanor was back in the starting lineup, and the 32-year-old became the front-runner to start behind the plate on Opening Day.

Out with a left calf muscle problem, Treanor had played in a few Minor League games before getting eight innings of work in on Monday afternoon.

The Marlins entered Spring Training with Treanor competing for the starting role with Mike Rabelo, who has been out since March 13 because of a left knee sprain. Treanor tested his leg in the sixth inning; after being hit by a pitch, he scored from first on Alexis Gomez's triple.

The Marlins plan to test Treanor's leg by playing him in back-to-back games.

Rabelo remains a few days, at least, away from returning to game action. It's appearing more likely that he will open the season on the disabled list, retroactive to March 21. If the team places Rabelo on the DL to that date, the earliest he could be activated is April 5, meaning he would miss a minimum of four games.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the plan is to get Treanor to play in back-to-back games, barring any setbacks. On Wednesday, Treanor also will catch Mark Hendrickson, already tabbed the No. 1 starter, in a Minor League game at Jupiter.

For Treanor, the possibility of starting on Opening Day for the first time in his career would be an honor.

"Starting on Opening Night, I'd hate to say that wasn't a goal of mine," Treanor said. "I trained more than I've ever done in my career for the chance to go on Opening Day. For me, it's an honor, if [Gonzalez] wants me to go out there. I'd be happy to be out there."

Also on Monday, left-handed reliever Renyel Pinto was back on the mound after missing time with a jammed right toe. Pinto and Taylor Tankersley are expected to offer two quality lefty arms in the bullpen.

Outfielder Cody Ross may be back in the lineup on Tuesday for the first time since Friday. He has been resting a hyperextended left knee. Right fielder Jeremy Hermida did some running on Monday, as he tests the tightness in his left hamstring. On Sunday, he began running on a treadmill.

It's getting to the point where the club will have to decide whether to put Hermida on the DL, retroactive to March 21, when the season opens. If Hermida plays before Opening Day, it most likely will be in a Minor League game. If he played in a Grapefruit League game, or an MLB game, and then went on the DL, the 15-day period would start the day after his final game played.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.