Coghlan expects to be healthy by spring

Coghlan expects to be healthy by spring

MIAMI -- A week ago, Chris Coghlan was cleared to do some light jogging. When he will begin baseball activities remains unknown, but the 25-year-old is confident he will be fully recovered in time for Spring Training.

Coghlan, the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year, underwent surgery on Aug. 11 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, but his recovery time was longer than initially expected because of the severity of the tear.

Instead of having a scope, the procedure was called a "meniscus repair," where doctors stitched the meniscus back together. It's now three months since he had the surgery performed by Marlins team physician Dr. Lee Kaplan.

Pitcher Ricky Nolasco also had a scope on his right knee to repair his meniscus in September, and his recovery time has been much faster.

"Originally, they thought I'd have what Ricky had, a cleanup," Coghlan said. "They'd go in, they'd scope you, they'd snip a little bit of the meniscus out and they'd shave it down. Then you're done. In four to six weeks, you're 100 percent.

"With mine, they thought that was what it was going to be. When I went in, it was torn up a lot worse. They repaired it. They call it a meniscus repair. They stitch your meniscus back together again instead of cutting it."

Although it is taking more time to heal, in the long run, Coghlan said he will be better off because none of the meniscus has been shaved away.

"I'm still rehabbing. I rehab five or six days a week," he said. "I'm doing everything I can do. There is no real timetable. I have all the way until Spring Training. I'm still strengthening it and trying to get it back to 100 percent.

"The doctors and everybody are saying that I'm on time for where they say I should be. Everything is going great. I don't have any complaints. It's just a long rehab. For my life and for baseball down the road, it's actually better that I had to get it repaired."

Coghlan expects to be fully recovered for when Spring Training gets under way in mid-February.

"I'll be 100 percent to go by Spring Training, for sure," he said. "I don't have any worries whatsoever that I won't be ready for Spring Training."

As of now, the Marlins plan on converting Coghlan from left field to third base.

A natural infielder, Coghlan was switched to left field in May 2009 to get his bat in the lineup. The move paid off as he hit .321 and won the NL Rookie of the Year honors.

In 2010, Coghlan was limited to 91 games and was hitting .268 when he suffered his season-ending injury on July 25.

Coghlan damaged his meniscus during a postgame celebration when he landed awkwardly on his knee after smearing a shaving-cream-covered towel into the face of Wes Helms, who delivered a walk-off hit.

When he is cleared to do baseball activities, Coghlan will focus on switching to third base. For now, his primary focus is being completely healthy.

"They told me third base, and I haven't heard otherwise," Coghlan said of where he expects to play next season. "There are a lot of things that can still happen. You never know. But as of right now, the tentative plan is third base.

"But I haven't gotten to that stage of where I've even focused on third base yet. When I can start doing full activities, my focus will be that."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.