Well, we hope it doesn’t really “become” news. From MLB.com:
"In the eighth inning of Sunday’s 7-4 loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium, [Cameron Maybin] raced from first to home on Donnie Murphy’s two-run double. Churning around the bases with his long strides, Maybin touched the bag with his left foot. Something snagged, and he hobbled the final 90 feet across home plate."
The news initially doesn’t sound good, but initial word out of camp is that Cameron Maybin will not get an MRI to see if this injury is more than just a groin pull. He insisted that there was no “popping” sound that could indicate a more severe injury, so for the time being we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ll consider our other options for the start of the year, just in case Maybin can’t return before Opening Day.As mentioned in the linked article, the Marlins are not planning to move Cody Ross to center field to replace Maybin during Spring Training. The more likely situation is that Ross remains in right field for ST, while one of Scott Cousins, Bryan Petersen, or Jai Miller take over in center field. Each of those players are classic “tweeners,” outfielders who do not have the bat to play the corners nor the range to play center field. The scouting estimates would put each of those guys as below average in center, with Cousins likely the best defensive option. None of the three are expected to do much with the bat yet.
If this injury spills into the regular season, however, I wonder if this plan would be a wise move for the Marlins. The team is lacking in major league experience in the outfield; only Ross has more than one season playing the outfield in the bigs in his profile. If Maybin misses substantial time at the beginning of the season, the Marlins would have to turn to either the minor leaguers or Brett Carroll to start. Carroll is not a starting-caliber major leaguer; his bat is anemic and his glove is amazing in right and left, but average around center field. Still, he’d likely be a better candidate than the other three because of that plus-plus defense in the corners. Cousins matches a similar profile, as a tweener with a low walk rate, decent power, and solid corner defense.
Clearly, the team is unprepared for another season without Maybin at center field. Let’s hope this injury passes quickly, and that it’s nothing but a sprain or pull from which he’ll recover in about two weeks time. If it is worse than that, well, Eric Hinske would be nice right about now, right?