05/11/2013 11:07 PM ET
Marlins face decisions when Mathis returns
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Before the Marlins open their homestand on Tuesday at Marlins Park, the organization will have some tough decisions to make.
Jeff Mathis, on rehab assignment, has been catching nine innings at Double-A Jacksonville. And on Sunday and Monday, the veteran is supposed to play nine more innings in each game for Triple-A New Orleans.
Barring any setbacks, Mathis is expected to be reinstated by Tuesday, when the Marlins open a three-game series with the Reds.
Mathis is coming back from a broken right collarbone, which he suffered on Feb. 23 in Miami's first Spring Training game.
When Mathis arrives, who will go?
The Marlins are currently carrying three catchers -- Rob Brantly, Miguel Olivo and Kyle Skipworth, who was called up when Austin Kearns went on the bereavement list.
Olivo has been backing up, and starting occasionally against left-handed pitching.
Skipworth is expected to go back to Triple-A New Orleans. But what will the team do about Olivo? He's a veteran who has the respect of his teammates, and the pitchers.
Manager Mike Redmond said the team may keep three catchers.
Olivo can catch, play first base and pinch-hit.
Greg Dobbs has been playing first base regularly.
Chris Valaika, who had surgery on a broken left wrist Friday, was a right-handed-hitting option. But he is out two to three months.
"We don't really have another first baseman," Redmond said. "Olivo could play there."
As an organization, the Marlins don't have tremendous depth at catcher.
But if they keep three catchers, they will have to figure out what to do when Austin Kearns is ready to return.
Kearns is on MLB's bereavement list due to family-related reasons. He has returned to his home in Kentucky, and he could be transferred to the Restricted List in a couple of days, because the bereavement list is for three to seven days.
LoMo close to playing the field
LOS ANGELES -- Stage two of Logan Morrison's injury-rehabilitation process is expected to begin next week.
Morrison has been being used as a designated hitter in Marlins extended spring games in Jupiter, Fla. In a few days, he is scheduled to play first base.
Last September, Morrison underwent right knee surgery and he opened the season on the 60-day disabled list.
The earliest Morrison is eligible to come off the DL is May 30.
As Morrison is getting closer to playing, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is not yet doing any baseball-related activities. Stanton went on the DL on April 30 with a strained right hamstring.
Nathan Eovaldi, on the 60-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw 40 pitches off the mound on Friday, and he is scheduled to throw again on Monday.
Henderson Alvarez, also on the 60-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, is starting to do some light throwing.
Coghlan taking an aggressive approach
LOS ANGELES -- Chris Coghlan is taking a more aggressive approach.
It's a completely different way of thinking for Coghlan, formerly a regular who now is adjusting to a role off the Marlins' bench.
Coghlan is finding himself pinch-hitting on a regular basis. When he was starting, he was more selective. Now, he's finding success by attacking pitches.
In Friday's 5-4 win over the Dodgers, Coghlan delivered a key pinch-hit double on a ball that hit off the top of the wall padding. The umpires reviewed the play, making sure it wasn't a homer. The ruling stood.
Coghlan is 5-for-15 as a pinch-hitter, and four for his last eight at-bats dating back to April 30.
Early in the season, he handled pinch-hitting as if he were starting.
"I try to talk to the older guys," Coghlan said. "I don't know what the heck I'm doing. This is just something I've got to get adjusted to. This is the role that I'm in right now."
The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year, Coghlan had a more patient style when playing regularly.
"I need to be more aggressive to strikes," he said. "It's not like I ever go up there thinking I'm going to work a count, but I'm more selective when I'm starting, because you get more opportunities. Off the bench, you don't have that luxury. It's more of a mindset than anything else."
Manager Mike Redmond understands the challenges of pinch-hitting.
"It's a tough role. I've been in it," Redmond said. "I know he's used to getting consistent at-bats. But he's made the most of his opportunities. That was obviously a huge at-bat in that game, and a big factor in us winning that game."