JUPITER, Fla. -- No running. No hitting. No worries.
Greg Dobbs is confident he will be ready for Opening Night, despite not playing since March 6 due to a Grade 2 left hamstring strain.
Considering all the missed time, there understandably would be reason for concern. Dobbs doesn't see it that way.
"Minor bump in the road," Dobbs said.
Dobbs maintains he should be ready for the April 4 opener against the Cardinals at Marlins Park.
"Absolutely," Dobbs said.
The 33-year-old is expected to be a key contributor off the bench. He's the club's primary left-handed pinch-hit option, and he can help out at third base or first.
Because of all the hitting he did in the offseason, Dobbs feels it won't take long to get his timing back at the plate.
Dobbs isn't sure when he will get into an exhibition game. Perhaps next weekend, but that isn't clear because he hasn't tested his running just yet.
Dobbs has played in just two Grapefruit League games, and he was off to a hot start, going 3-for-5 with one home run and three RBIs.
Stanton's status for Opening Night uncertain
JUPITER, Fla. -- Until Giancarlo Stanton is cleared to start running, the Marlins right fielder is unsure of when he will return to the lineup.
The 22-year-old also can't confidently say if he will be ready for Opening Night.
"I'm just hitting, not running," Stanton said on Monday morning.
Opening Night for the Marlins is a little more than two weeks away, as the team is set to face the World Series champion Cardinals on April 4 at Marlins Park.
Stanton hasn't played since he was struck on his left wrist by Mets right-hander Chris Schwinden's fastball on March 11.
As he was recovering from the wrist, it was also revealed that Stanton has an issue with his left knee. An MRI revealed inflammation in two areas of his knee. Stanton said there was swelling, but there is no damage to his ligaments, tendons or meniscus.
"The pain has died down a little bit, but there is still some inflammation," he said.
The Marlins' cleanup hitter has been limited to nine at-bats in Grapefruit League play. Manager Ozzie Guillen is hopeful to have his regulars set to play at least seven innings by Saturday.
Stanton is taking batting practice, but the knee is hindering him from fully being able to drive the ball.
This is the second straight Spring Training where Stanton has dealt with an ailment. He missed time and was limited to six Grapefruit League games because of a strained right quad in 2011.
Even with the missed time, Stanton appeared in 150 big league games a year ago, and he paced the Marlins with 34 home runs and 87 RBIs.
With Stanton out, Aaron Rowand will start in right field on Monday against the Astros. Austin Kearns is set to play right field on Tuesday when the Rays visit Roger Dean Stadium.
Rowand and Kearns are both non-roster invitees who are competing for a right-handed backup outfield spot.
Coghlan feels he's in best health in long while
JUPITER, Fla. -- Playing nine innings is a nice change of pace for Chris Coghlan.
The Marlins outfielder went the distance on Sunday, playing left field for the entire game. It's telling, because Coghlan went back-to-back days, playing every out.
"I feel real good," Coghlan said. "It's great. I don't think about my knee when I'm playing any more. It's fun."
The past couple of years haven't been too fun for Coghlan, who tore the meniscus in his left knee in 2010. He was slowed by the knee a year ago and had a scope on the same knee in November.
Coghlan is fighting for a roster spot, and he's making a case for himself to win a backup position. He was out of the lineup on Monday, but is scheduled to play left field and lead off on Tuesday against the Rays.
The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner is hitting .294 (5-for-17) this spring.
"My swing feels good," Coghlan said. "It's just having the same focus, day in and day out, mentally. It's fun to compete again. It's been a while for me. Any time I'm out there, I'm happy."
Smoltz sees Marlins contending in NL East
JUPITER, Fla. -- Expectations are understandably high for Miami.
The bar is being set at reaching the playoffs. The way former pitching great John Smoltz sees it, the Marlins will be seeking a division title, not just a National League Wild Card berth.
Smoltz, the former Braves All-Star, was at Marlins camp on Monday as part of MLB Network.
"With the people the Marlins have brought in, hopefully this is a longer, sustaining run than they've put together in years past, when they were one and done," Smoltz said. "They've set themselves up to be successful."
The Marlins added free agents Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle to a young nucleus. They also traded for veteran right-hander Carlos Zambrano, and hired high-profile manager Ozzie Guillen, a former teammate of Smoltz.
"I think they did a great job in the offseason putting together the pieces," Smoltz said. "Not just to say they're going to get to .500, but they've got a chance to win the division. I know Ozzie. That's going to be his mindset from the beginning. It's not about the new stadium. It's to win this division."
The fate of the National League East could boil down to starting pitching.
"This division has gotten into a pitching rotation battle," Smoltz said. "Philadelphia is still head and shoulders [the best]. This team has added some people to their roster that are going to help them win.
"I think everyone's got their hands full. If the health of each rotation, Braves, Marlins, Phillies and Nationals, it's going to be whoever takes advantage of the other team."