Cody Ross continues to hold out hope that he will be ready for Opening Day.
Friday was another reason for optimism. Playing in a Minor League game with low Class A Greensboro, Ross had five at-bats as a designated hitter. Although he grounded out and lifted four flyouts, it was an encouraging afternoon.
Ross, who had an MRI on Tuesday, is recovering from a mild right calf strain. Whether he will be ready for the opener will be decided after he plays about five or six innings in the outfield in another Minor League game on Saturday.
The Marlins open on Monday against the Mets at Citi Field.
“We’ll see how I feel, and we’ll go from there,” Ross said Friday. “If all goes well, I’ll fly to New York.”
If the decision is made that Ross isn’t ready, he will open the season on the disabled list, retoactive to March 26. The earliest he would be activiated is April 10. But as of now, the hope is Ross will be ready.
If Ross did open on the DL, and a Minor Leaguer were to be called up, Scott Cousins is the frontrunner to get the nod. The other option is Jai Miller.
– Joe Frisaro
Bringing the All-Star Game to South Florida remains a strong possibility.
With their new stadium set to open in 2012, the Marlins have openly talked about their desire to someday host the All-Star Game. The year 2015 has been discussed as a possibility.
On Thursday, MLB President and COO Bob DuPuy noted that South Florida is on the league’s radar.
“As has been talked about repeatedly, the commissioner has been committed to rewarding communities with All-Star Games for persevering and getting new ballparks,” DuPuy said.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has discussed with Commissioner Bud Selig the possibility of hosting the All-Star Game. DuPuy and team president David Samson have had similar conversations.
“I know Jeffrey has talked with the commissioner. David and I have talked about it,” DuPuy said. “I’m confident that South Florida will be in the queue.”
DuPuy was at the Marlins-Cardinals game on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium. Earlier in the day, he toured construction of the new ballpark Miami.
The Marlins are two years away from moving into their 37,000-seat retractable-roof building in the Little Havana section of Miami.
The league was instrumental in the ballpark being approved. Throughout the long process to find the Marlins their own home, MLB has stressed that South Florida could blossom into a prosperous baseball market.
The new staidum is crucial for the growth of the franchise.
“They’ve had location issues. They’ve had climate issues. They’ve had weather issues,” DuPuy said. “Even though they don’t get a lot of rainouts, I think the most important part of how the market is set up is that fans are going to know that games are going to start at 7:05, and they’re going to be over in a normal time period. Fans are not going to have to wait through an hour rain delay or an hour-and-a-half rain delay.”
The hope is that there also will be development around the ballpark, such as restaurants and shops. The long-term vision is to make the area a destination.
“I think the stadium is great for baseball. It’s great for this franchise,” DuPuy said. “It’s great for the community.”
– Joe Frisaro
Nothing has been announced yet, but look for Brian Barden, Mike Lamb, Clay Hensley and Jose Veras to be the non-roster invitees to make the team.
Barden appears to have won the final bench spot. Lamb will be the primary lefty bat off the bench.
Cody Ross hasn’t ruled out playing on Opening Day. Ross may play in a Minor League game in the next day or so.
Bryan Petersen is being reassigned to Minor League camp.
Non-roster invitees Hector Luna and Donnie Murphy didn’t make the team.
The final roster, for now, seems to be:
C – John Baker, Ronny Paulino
1B – Gaby Sanchez
2B – Dan Uggla
SS – Hanley Ramirez
3B – Jorge Cantu
LF – Chris Coghlan
CF – Cameron Maybin
RF – Cody Ross
Bench – Mike Lamb, Wes Helms, Brian Barden, Emilio Bonifacio
Starting pitchers – Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Nate Robertson
Bullpen – Leo Nunez, Renyel Pinto, Dan Meyer, Brian Sanches, Jose Veras, Burke Badenhop, Clay Hensley
DL – Brett Carroll
Carroll strained his left oblique, and he will go on the DL retroactive to March 26. The earliest he can be activiated is April 10. Carroll will remain in Jupiter when the team heads to Jacksonville for Friday.
Carroll took some swings on Wednesday off the tee. He again will do some light hitting on Thursday. He says he is making progress. The plan is for him to play for Class A Jupiter in their home opener on April 8.
If Ross isn’t ready for Opening Day, Emilio Bonifacio is a possibility to play right field. Boni started in right field on Thursday in the Marlins final Grapefruit League game.
– Joe Frisaro