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Miami star on track for comeback

JUPITER — Hanley Ramirez is healthy this spring, and the results are showing.

The Marlins' new third baseman hit his second home run Saturday in Miami's 5-2 split-squad loss to the Twins.

The Marlins trailed 1-0 when Ramirez connected off right-hander Carl Pavano for a long two-run homer to left-center with two outs in the fifth.

"I feel great. It's way different (from last year). Everybody knows I wasn't 100 percent," said Ramirez, who hit .342 in 2009 to win the National League batting title.

Ramirez, who also drew two walks, is batting .474 this spring. Last season he hit .243, played in only 92 games because of injuries and had left shoulder surgery in September.

"He had a rough year last year, but everybody knows how good he is," right-hander Ricky Nolasco said. "He showed he was one of the best players in the league for five years.

"Every player is going to have a down year, and it was just because he was hurt. Nobody is worried about it. He'll be fine."

Ramirez, a three-time All-Star shortstop, is playing third base this season to make room for new shortstop Jose Reyes.

"Every day I am getting more comfortable," Ramirez said of the new position.

In other Marlins news, former Rays left-handed reliever Randy Choate, out with a strained lateral muscle on his right side, said he felt great after a bullpen session and hoped to make his spring debut next weekend.

CHECKING ON PUDGE: With starting catcher Salvador Perez expected to miss three months with a knee injury, the Royals reportedly checked on the availability of veteran Ivan Rodriguez and were told he was not ready to join the team. Rodriguez, 40, was limited to 44 games with the Nationals last season because of an oblique injury.

SCULLY SCALING BACK: Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, entering his 63rd season in the booth, said he won't travel with the team to games in Colorado. Scully, 84, who has limited himself to road trips within the division in recent years, still plans to broadcast more than 100 games.

BONDS APPEAL: Barry Bonds was given a 30-day extension, until April 20, to file written arguments in his appeal to overturn his obstruction of justice conviction. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted the extension Wednesday after it was not opposed by federal prosecutors.

BREWERS: Rightfielder Corey Hart said he was "way ahead of schedule" in his recovery from right knee surgery. It is unknown if he'll be ready to play opening day.

CARDINALS: Reserve Skip Schumaker remained in Jupiter to get a reading on his strained right oblique muscle. … Right-hander Chris Carpenter (stiff neck) said he felt fine a day after a 30-pitch session.

D'BACKS: Second-year right-hander Josh Collmenter will begin the season in the starting rotation, reported, meaning top prospects Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs will open in the minors.

INDIANS: Closer Chris Perez, out with a strained left oblique, threw a second straight bullpen session and is expected to make his spring debut Friday.

NATIONALS: An MRI exam on leftfielder Michael Morse's right lat muscle showed no further damage. Morse, who has missed time this spring with a mild strain, will play in minor-league games for at least a few more days.

PIRATES: Right-hander A.J. Burnett threw 30 pitches during his first side session since having surgery to repair a fractured orbital bone in his right eye March 2.

RED SOX: Right-hander Carlos Silva, who hadn't pitched this spring because of a shoulder injury, was released.

Miami star on track for comeback 03/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 9:09pm]
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