Notes: Lefty trio to front new rotation
Hendrickson, Miller and Olsen will join Mitre and one other
JUPITER, Fla. -- For the most part, the Marlins opened Spring Training knowing four of their five starting pitchers.
But unlike years past -- when the club had established starters like Dontrelle Willis, Josh Beckett, Brad Penny, A.J. Burnett and Carl Pavano -- there could be some surprises if projected pitchers underperform or encounter injuries.
With pitcher and catcher workouts set to begin on Monday at Roger Dean Stadium, the top four starters -- in no particular order -- are Scott Olsen, Mark Hendrickson, Andrew Miller and Sergio Mitre.
Front-runners for the fifth spot are Ricky Nolasco and Rick VandenHurk. Others who should factor into the mix are prospects Chris Volstad, Gaby Hernandez, Daniel Barone (who can also relieve) and non-roster invitee Doug Waechter, who is wearing No. 35, which became vacated when Willis was traded to Detroit.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez says there will be opportunities and innings for numerous pitchers in camp.
The Marlins have 71 players in camp, including 38 pitchers.
"They will get work," Gonzalez said. "That's why we scheduled three split-squad days in the first 11 days [of games]."
In all likelihood, the Marlins will have three lefties in their rotation: Olsen, Miller and Hendrickson.
Ross ready: A relatively new medical procedure has helped Cody Ross overcome a nagging left hamstring problem that caused the outfielder to miss substantial time in 2007.
Limited to 66 games and 173 at-bats a year ago, Ross was willing to try just about anything to strengthen his hamstring for this season.
The 27-year-old outfielder was recommended for examination by renowned physician Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo., in October.
Steadman asked Ross if he wanted to undergo a procedure. Basically, Ross had blood withdrawn from his arm. It was placed into what he calls a "high-tech machine" that cleans out the blood, leaving in the cells that help healing. The blood was then injected directly into Ross' hamstring. He received three or four of the injections.
The procedure has paid off.
"They said just relax a couple of weeks and don't do anything strenuous, and it should help the healing," Ross said. "I took an MRI. They told me I didn't have a tear or anything. It was a little scar tissue."
Ross is one of the early arrival position players who already is doing some light working out at Roger Dean Stadium. Position players take their physicals on Wednesday, and the first full-squad workout is on Thursday.
After his series of injections in October, Ross was advised to rest, and he didn't start serious running until late November and early December.
Ross enters Spring Training competing for an outfield spot, and he is in the mix to play center field if 20-year-old Cameron Maybin doesn't win the starting job.
Workouts on Monday: Beginning on Monday, pitchers and catchers will officially begin their workout schedules.
A number of pitchers have been throwing for a few days now, but Monday's morning workout will be open to the public on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium.
The back-field workouts are one of the most ideal times for fans to get autographs because players are moving from field to field.
"I encourage the guys to sign," Gonzalez said. "This is the fun part of Spring Training, and this complex is so fan friendly. You can catch guys walking from field to field. I encourage them to stop to sign autographs, as long as it doesn't interfere with their work."
Injury update: Three Marlins are not medically cleared to do full workouts: pitchers Josh Johnson (Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery), Henry Owens (shoulder surgery) and Anibal Sanchez (shoulder surgery).
Johnson, who may miss the entire season, is throwing at 120 feet, and he is progressing towards tossing off the mound. If he returns this season, it will be late in the year.
Owens has been throwing for a few weeks, and his goal is to pitch sometime this season. Sanchez could be back by the All-Star break.
Quotable: Asked who the Opening Day starter will be, Gonzalez quipped: "I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Mets are going with [Johan] Santana." The Marlins open on March 31 against New York. Florida's Opening Day starter is up for grabs.
Up next: The first workout for pitchers and catchers will be on Monday, at approximately 10 a.m. ET on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.