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Notes: Olivo undecided about Classic

Catcher up in the air about if he'll play for Dominican Republic

Miguel Olivo has a .229 average in 904 at-bats in four seasons in the Majors. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Team or country?

It's a difficult decision confronting Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo.

In the mix for a starting job with Florida, Olivo also is weighing whether to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

It's a tough call for the 27-year-old who is in his first season with the Marlins. Because he is with a new team, Olivo would like to devote his full attention to learning the pitchers and getting acclimated to a different environment.

But he's torn, because he also wants to be part of the WBC.

"I want to represent my country, but for me, I want to spend more time with the team to get to know the young pitchers," said Olivo.

Olivo said Sunday that he is leaning "85 to 95 percent" to staying with the Marlins.

"It's going to be tough, because I'm the No. 1 catcher in the Dominican," Olivo said. "It's tough because I want to spend time here and learn everything that happens here before I go there."

Players are set to report to the WBC on March 3. So if Olivo does decide to play for the Dominican, he will have just under two weeks in Marlins camp. The longest players will be away is 18 days.

"I want to stay here," Olivo said. "I have to see what's going on."

Manager Joe Girardi is leaving the choice up to Olivo, who is competing with Josh Willingham and Matt Treanor for the starting job.

"That's his choice," Girardi said. "I called him and I told him, 'It's a special thing that you're invited to play. If you want to play, you go play. I'm not going to hold that against you. I'd want to play. It's the first one. Make your country proud.'"

Should Olivo play in the WBC, Girardi points out he will be going against top-level competition.

"He's fighting for the everyday spot [here]," Girardi said. "It's not like he's not going to be playing against good competition. He's going to be in a position to be improving his game by playing [in the WBC]."

Olympic spirit: Watching the Winter Olympics has special meaning for non-roster invitee Mike Kinkade, a member on the United States' 2000 Summer Olympic gold medal-winning team in Sydney, Australia.

"I'm actually pretty fond of the skiing events. I used to ski a lot when I was little," said Kinkade, who is in the mix for a backup corner infield or outfield spot. "I try to catch that when I can, but it seems like every time I turn the TV on, it's curling."

Because he is a previous Olympian, Kinkade has an understanding of the behind-the-scene events. While he won gold as part of a team sport, he marvels at the athletes who take home individual honors.

"I think it's kind of neat that I've been there and know a little bit about what's going on behind the scenes," he said.

As of now, baseball and softball are no longer Olympic sports. Kinkade hopes that will change.

"I don't know what the criteria is for what should be an Olympic sport and what shouldn't," he said. "Why should curling be an Olympic sport and baseball not? Baseball is a worldwide sport, obviously with the World Baseball Classic."

Taking it slow: Of the 33 pitchers in camp, about half are starters. Spring Training will determine how many of those pitchers remain starters. While Girardi is preaching competition and so many jobs are open, the first-year manager isn't looking for the players to try to make the club in one day.

When Girardi addresses the team before Monday's workouts, he plans on talking about pitchers trying to overdue it.

"A big part of my message Monday is to take it easy," Girardi said.

A number of the pitchers have already spent weeks working out in Jupiter. In the days leading into the start of Spring Training, Girardi periodically stopped in at Roger Dean Stadium. He intentionally didn't watch many of the pitchers throw because he didn't want them to feel pressured because he was around.

"I'll be watching closely on Monday," he said.

Several pitchers are recovering from injuries, and they will be eased in more slowly. But Girardi said all pitchers are ready to go.

Rule 5 Draft pickup Michael Megrew, a left-hander out of the Dodgers system, is battling back from elbow surgery. He likely will take it easy. While Nate Bump had shoulder surgery in the middle of last season, the right-hander has already been throwing bullpens and he isn't expected to be limited much.

Scott Olsen, who missed most of the second half of last year with a sore elbow, may be more cautious early.

Ready for workouts: Monday marks the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium. The players will begin warming up about 10 a.m. ET, and practices are open to the public.

Tuesday is report day for the position players, and after undergoing their physicals on Wednesday, the first full-squad workout is Thursday. Until Spring Training games begin on March 1, workouts will be at 10 a.m.

With so many pitchers needing to be looked at, there are chances for more intrasquad and "B" games throughout Spring Training.

The Marlins have 58 players in big-league camp.

"Monday is going to be the first true special day, because it's when camp starts," Girardi said. "It's wonderful being named the manager of the Florida Marlins. Once Monday starts, it's all for real. That's going to be a special day, and Opening Day is going to be a huge day for me."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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