Coghlan set to lead off

JUPITER, Fla. — Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez has pretty much settled on a leadoff hitter.

Look for Chris Coghlan to bat first in the April 1 season opener against the Mets.

Rodriguez has been weighing two options for leadoff — Coghlan and Omar Infante. On Friday, the manager noted that Coghlan is expected to hit first in the season opener, as well as Sunday’s exhibition opener against the University of Miami at Roger Dean Stadium.

Infante is projected to bat second.

Now, because Coghlan is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, look for the 25-year-old to have scheduled off days throughout Spring Training. For instance, after he plays on Sunday against UM, he likely will be out of the lineup on Monday in the Marlins’ Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals. Infante is a likely leadoff choice in those games.

For the first couple of weeks of games, the Marlins will shy away from playing Coghlan in back-to-back games.

Other items of note from Friday:

* Javier Vazquez will be the starting pitcher on Sunday against the Miami Hurricanes. He will throw two innings. In the morning that day, Josh Johnson will throw a two inning simulated game on a back field at Roger Dean Stadium. The start time will be about 10:30 a.m.

* The starting lineup will play a couple of innings against the Hurricanes. For the most part, the regulars — like Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton — will get two at-bats. That could change for Matt Dominguez, who likely will get three at-bats. Catcher John Buck may just get one at-bat.

* Josh Johnson’s first Grapefruit League start is scheduled for Wednesday against the Nationals in Viera.

* Alex Sanabia is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Astros in Kissimmee.

* Ricky Nolasco has been throwing long toss as he recovers from a sore right thumb. As long as Nolasco is throwing in games by March 13-14, the right-hander should have enough time to be ready for the season. Now, where Nolasco is slotted to pitch may change. Even though he is projected to be the No. 2 starter, he could be pushed back to the fourth or fifth slot. Because the Marlins have a scheduled off day on April 4, they could go with a four-man rotation for a little while until Nolasco is ready.

– Joe Frisaro

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