PHOENIX - JULY 11: Chris Coghlan #8 of the Florida Marlins bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 11, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Marlins defeated the Diamondbacks 2-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Florida Marlins plan to use an interesting outfield trio in 2011, which includes not one but two converted infielders (left-fielder Logan Morrison and center-fielder Chris Coghlan) patrolling the vast expanses of Sun Life Stadium's outfield. That is, if their outfielders can manage to make it out of Spring Training in one piece.
Coghlan was pulled from the starting lineup before yesterday's Spring Training game against the St. Louis Cardinals with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. He instead played in a minor-league game at the Marlins' Spring Training complex in Jupiter, where his action was limited to non-throwing activity.
He is the second of the Marlins' three starting outfielders to suffer a seemingly minor injury that could keep him on the bench when the Marlins begin their season April 1. Right-fielder Mike Stanton strained his right quadriceps in an exhibition game against the University of Miami last month, and has not played in any Spring Training games with the Marlins since.
Stanton has been playing in minor-league games, where he can be used as a designated hitter and replaced with a pinch-runner after his at-bats. It is not known when he will rejoin the Marlins.
When asked about Coghlan and Stanton yesterday, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez was optimistic, telling the Miami Herald, "I think they’re going to be out there Opening Day." However, he also did not rule out the possibility of Coghlan starting the season on the disabled list, which could force the Marlins to start super-utilityman Emilio Bonifacio (another converted infielder) in centerfield on Opening Day.
Marlins fans will doubtless hope for a speedy recovery for Coghlan. If he cannot make it back in time for Opening Day, the Fish may end up batting Bonifacio leadoff (where Coghlan normally hits), despite the fact that he sports a career .251 batting average and strikes out over twice as much as he draws walks.