At 8:30 a.m., Chris Marrero ran up and down the steps at Space Coast Stadium, sweating in the bright morning sun. He stretched while leaning on the dugout rail, then walked into a clubhouse full of teammates who will get to do something he still can’t: play baseball.
Marrero tore his hamstring in November, lunging for a throw while playing first base during a winter league game in the Dominican Republic. “I went too far, did a split,” Marrero said. He underwent surgery shortly thereafter.
Rather than using the momentum from last season’s September call-up to try to make his first opening day roster, Marrero can only hit off a tee and play catch. He will not be playing any games this spring, and, while he has no precise timetable to return, he’ll probably appear in his first game sometime around the all-star break.
“I want to play, but I can’t,” Marrero said. “I don’t really think about it. I’m just doing what I can to get back healthy.”
Before Marrero’s injury, Manager Davey Johnson planned on using him as a right-handed bat off the bench and as a part-time replacement for Adam LaRoche against some left-handed starters. Instead, the Nationals signed Mark DeRosa as insurance at first base. (Since Mike Cameron retired, DeRosa has also become a possible piece of an outfield platoon.)
Updating this morning’s post on players arriving early, all positions players aside from Michael Morse, Mark DeRosa and Xavier Paul have made their presence known in the Nationals clubhouse, and DeRosa apparently swung by the complex last night. All pitchers and catchers are here, too. Henry Rodriguez showed a day late, an excused tardiness for tending to a personal matter.
Also here: Pat Corrales, back in his role as a roving minor league evaluator and instructor, in uniform for his 53rd spring training.