NEW YORK -- Logan Morrison was all smiles Sunday morning sitting in the Marlins dugout.
The 25-year-old first baseman, trying to battle back from two surgeries on his right knee over the past year and a half, was happy to be back with his teammates and in a major-league lineup for the first time since July 28. Is his knee finally 100 percent?
“I don’t think it’s 100 percent, but it’s pretty close,” said Morrison, who spent all of spring training walking in an anti-gravity suit on a treadmill before finally beginning a 16-game rehab assignment last month. “I’m happy with it. Hopefully, I can stay away from walls and the adrenaline doesn’t get the best of me.
“When I first started playing, sliding on it, it bothered [me]. But the last couple days sliding on it hasn’t bothered it.”
After learning mid-game Saturday in Birmingham, Ala., that he was flying up to New York to join the team Sunday, the always easy going Morrison said he sent a text message to manager Mike Redmond, who was in the middle of a 20-inning game against the Mets, writing: “I guess I’m flying to New York to pitch.”
Morrison hit only .179 with two homers, 10 RBI, six walks and four strikeouts over 56 at-bats during his time in Single A Jupiter and Double A Jacksonville. But he’s confident his hitting stroke will eventually come back. “It’s what I do,” he said. “It will come back.”
Coghlan To DL
The last thing Chris Coghlan wanted as he was beginning to turn his career around was another trip to the disabled list. But that’s where the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year is headed after a three-week battle with numbness in his right calf.
“My muscle is not firing. It hurts. It feels like a real tight feeling that I can’t push,” said Coghlan, who is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday. “... I’m frustrated, but at the end of the day I did what I could do. I grinded through it, and this is what’s in the cards for me. I’ve got to turn the page, be positive and do whatever I can do to get back here as soon as possible.”
A pinch-hitter and reserve for the first month and a half of the season, Coghlan fought his way into the starting lineup on May 18 and hit .343 with a homer and nine RBI over his past 18 games. With a crowded outfield full of young prospects, the Marlins have talked about moving him to third base. It’s a possibility that’s where he’ll be when he returns.
Stanton is ready
All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, rehabbing in Single A Jupiter and trying to come back from a Grade 2 hamstring strain, texted Redmond and trainer Sean Cunningham on Saturday to tell him that he’s ready to go.
Although he’s gone hitless in the four rehab games he’s played in — including a double header Saturday — Redmond said having Stanton back in the lineup soon will be huge. It’s likely the Marlins will send first baseman Casey Kotchman, 0 for 20 this season at the plate, to the disabled list Monday with a strained oblique to make room for Stanton on the roster.
“It’s a great presence to have in our lineup,” Redmond said. “Even if he stands up there and takes, he’s going to walk. If he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go.”
• Redmond said right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who threw a 55-pitch simulated game Saturday, will likely begin his rehab stint next week.
• Second baseman Donovan Solano, who is 6 for 10 with an RBI in three rehab game starts in Jupiter, is available to return this week. But the Marlins haven’t decided yet what they’re going to do.
“We still have to evaluate where he’s at,” Redmond said. “We got a lot of guys that are close and we’ve talked about having some decisions to make. Of course it all works out you get them all back the same week. It’s a good situation. We’re getting the lineup we thought we’d have when we left in spring training back. That’s good.”
• Kevin Slowey, who pitched seven scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win in Saturday’s 20-inning marathon, has had his next scheduled start moved to Wednesday to allow him an extra day of rest. Redmond moved right-hander Jacob Turner’s next start up a day to Tuesday to accommodate Slowey. Turner pitched six innings of one-run ball Wednesday against the Phillies.
• Monday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-6, 3.61 ERA) vs. Milwaukee Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo (4-6, 5.25), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Tuesday: Marlins RHP Turner (1-0, 0.69) vs. Brewers RHP Wily Peralta (4-7, 6.16), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: The Marlins split last year’s season series 4-4 after going 0-7 against Milwaukee in 2011. Gallardo didn’t face the Marlins in 2012 but went 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two starts against them in 2011. Nolasco is 2-2 with a 7.71 ERA in seven starts against the Brewers.