02/21/2013 4:24 PM ET
Ruggiano sidelined with back tightness
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Grapefruit League games have yet to get under way, and already some pesky setbacks are starting to add up for the Marlins.
Justin Ruggiano, the projected starting center fielder, experienced tightness in his lower back while fielding a ground ball Thursday morning. He will be out at least a few days.
There is a reason for frustration because the 30-year-old dealt with back spasms a year ago.
Miami's first preseason game is Saturday against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium, and Ruggiano isn't expected to be available.
"I guess he had that last year, so we're just going to make sure that we get him some treatments and get him feeling good and healthy and back on the field," manager Mike Redmond said.
In all likelihood, Ruggiano will not be ready for at least three or four days.
"It's not fun," the outfielder said. "It's annoying, and it's frustrating. I'm angry that I have not got a hold on what to do."
Physically, this has been a rough week for the Marlins, who have dealt with freaky and scary incidents.
On Monday, Casey Kotchman received four stitches on his left ring finger in a bizarre collision. The first baseman crashed into the machine that flings pop flies to the infielders. He's a few days away from swinging a bat.
And on Wednesday, there was a scare when Giancarlo Stanton was plunked in the back of the head by a Jose Fernandez fastball.
Redmond said they dodged a bullet with Stanton, who has no concussion-like symptoms. On Thursday, the slugger took it easy, lifting weights and conditioning, and he said he is ready to go Friday.
Ruggiano is a middle-of-the-lineup hitter who offers power and a solid hitting approach. In 91 games for Miami last year, he batted .313 with 13 home runs and 36 RBIs.
"You don't want to go out there right now and make it worse," Ruggiano said.
The back tightness occurred before Ruggiano did any hitting. He was fielding a ground ball in the outfield.
Until last year, Ruggiano had never had back issues.
"Why it's happening? I have no idea," he said.
Last year, he had MRIs and X-rays taken, confirming there is no structural damage.
"I know it's nothing structural," he said.
LoMo begins running on anti-gravity treadmill
JUPITER, Fla. -- Don't expect Logan Morrison to be in the Opening Day lineup for the Marlins, but the first baseman hopes to be available sometime in April.
Exactly when, it is not clear.
Foremost, the Marlins want the 25-year-old fully ready and not playing through any discomfort this spring.
Morrison is recovering from right knee surgery, and Thursday he began a rehab program where he ran on an anti-gravity treadmill.
In a few weeks to a month, Morrison will progress to running on the field.
Morrison acknowledged Thursday that being ready for Opening Day on April 1 at Washington is a long shot.
The first baseman hasn't ruled out playing sometime in April.
"Very possible," Morrison said. "I don't know exactly when in April, but I'm hoping it's before May."
It's been a rough last couple of years for Morrison, who has had two surgeries to his right knee.
A year ago, he pushed it in Spring Training, and it resulted in him getting off to a slow start. In 93 games a year ago, he batted .230 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs.
"You've got to be healthy in this game," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's hard to be banged up and injured. He's one of those guys that we've just got to take our time with him and ease him back into it, make sure that he's 100 percent healthy and 100 percent ready to go when he goes out there. We want to have him over the course of a season and not just a month or so."
• Redmond has set his pitching rotation for early in Spring Training. John Maine will get the nod Saturday against the Cardinals in Miami's first Grapefruit League game. Henderson Alvarez will start Sunday at Viera against the Nationals. Wade LeBlanc will go Monday at the Braves in Lake Buena Vista. Ricky Nolasco is scheduled for Tuesday against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium. Nathan Eovaldi will start Wednesday at Viera, and Jacob Turner is matched with the Cardinals on Thursday in Jupiter.
• Former Marlins All-Star Mike Lowell will be a guest instructor with the team for three games, beginning Feb. 28. Lowell, one of the most popular players in franchise history, will spend time with the players for a few days. Redmond feels it is important for the organization to bring back some of its former standouts to offer advice and insights to the players. Redmond has also reached out to Luis Castillo, who has not yet committed to a firm day.
• On Thursday, simulated games were played on two fields. Among the highlights were solid at-bats and hits by Placido Polanco and Donovan Solano. Adeiny Hechavarria collected a triple off Henderson Alvarez. A.J. Ramos was impressive in his pitching stint. Matt Downs, in the mix for a utility role, had two singles.