PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As the Marlins' World Baseball Classic participants return to Grapefruit League action this weekend, so do a couple important pieces who have remained with the team but have been withheld from game play.
Infielders Placido Polanco and Greg Dobbs got back on the field Saturday, with Polanco (right oblique) batting second and playing third base against the Mets, and Dobbs (right calf) playing in a Minor League game at the complex in Port St. Lucie.
Polanco went 2-for-3 with a double and a single, and said the biggest test was when he had to dive back to second base on a pickoff throw in the first inning.
"Some days are gonna be good, some days are gonna be bad," Polanco said. "Felt fine overall. The big test was on the pickoff play at second base, where it was a quick one. But it felt fine."
Dobbs had appeared in just one game this spring, going 1-for-3, and could help at third base when Polanco needs a breather. Polanco has appeared in four games this spring, hitting 4-for-10 with two runs and an RBI. Manager Mike Redmond said earlier this week that Polanco was feeling much better but just needed to feel comfortable taking the field again.
"I think when you're a little bit banged up as a player, in your mind, everybody says you're fine, you're ready to go," Redmond said. "But until you're ready to go in your mind, that's the biggest thing. And he felt like he could go out there. He's played a long time. He knows when his body feels right and when it doesn't, so when he feels like he's ready to go, I trust that he's ready to go."
Coupled with the return of Giancarlo Stanton and Steve Cishek from the World Baseball Classic, the return of Polanco and Dobbs gives the Marlins a nice boost heading into the final weeks of Spring Training.
"It makes me more comfortable having those guys back knowing that I can see them every day," Redmond said. "As a team, obviously we're thin, so we can't overcome a lot -- a lot of knocks and bruises. Even with Polanco being banged up a little bit, Dobbs being banged up, it just feels better that we're getting all those guys back on the field."
Polanco is expected to play Saturday and Sunday -- probably a couple at-bats, and about five innings per game, Redmond said -- before getting the day off on Monday. Then he'll play two more in a row before the Marlins' off-day on Thursday.