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03/23/09 2:47 PM EST

Marlins optimistic about Lindstrom

Opening Day a possibility for reliever, who threw off flat ground

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Target date No. 1 has been hit by Matt Lindstrom. Now the question is whether he'll hit all the others and be ready to close out games for the Marlins by the time their regular-season home opener rolls around.

Although a lot is still yet to be decided on that end, things are at least starting to progress.

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While the Marlins traveled to Osceola County Stadium to take on the Astros on Monday, Lindstrom stayed back in Jupiter, Fla., to throw for the first time since he sustained an injury to his throwing shoulder.

The 28-year-old hard-throwing right-hander suffered a right rotator cuff strain while pitching for Team USA against The Netherlands during the World Baseball Classic's second round at Dolphin Stadium on March 15.

When the MRI originally revealed the injury, Lindstrom was said to be on no-throw status for, at the very least, seven days.

And since he began throwing off flat ground -- from about 60 to 90 feet -- in the minimum amount of days required, there's still some hope that if it's a close ballgame between the Nationals and Marlins on April 6, Lindstrom can pitch the ninth inning.

But not much.

"We'll see," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It'll be pushing it, you know what I mean? Not pushing it, but he would have to hit all his [target dates].

"Everything is possible. I'm optimistic that he could come back [in time]."

If Lindstrom isn't ready, newly acquired right-hander Leo Nunez would be the favorite to fill in as the temporary closer because another one of their new bullpen additions, Scott Proctor (right elbow), has not appeared in a Grapefruit League game since Feb. 27, and there is still no timetable for his return.

Sanchez in line to play Tuesday: Potential starting first baseman Gaby Sanchez also stayed back at Roger Dean Stadium, taking ground balls and doing a bit of batting practice in his recovery from a bruised left knee.

Gonzalez said Sanchez, who banged knees with Nationals outfielder Lastings Milledge on a play at first base on Wednesday, could play against the Twins in Jupiter, Fla., on Tuesday. And if things go well, he could also see action in the Minor League game against the Cardinals on Wednesday.

In other injury news, Dallas McPherson (right oblique strain) has been hitting off a tee and, best-case scenario, Gonzalez said the 28-year-old corner infielder could play Thursday or Friday.

More will be known about Alfredo Amezaga's sprained left knee when he comes off his brace on Wednesday. The super-utilityman is doubtful to be ready by Opening Day.

Alden Gonzalez is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.