MIAMI -- A year ago at this time, Logan Morrison was hobbling around on crutches while recovering from right knee surgery. So being able to enjoy a healthy offseason is a relief for the Marlins' 26-year-old first baseman, who had dealt with the same knee problem for a couple of years.
"Now, I don't have to worry about being on crutches, I don't have to worry about how my knee feels," Morrison said. "I don't have to be doing leg lifts. I can be out running. Being healthy right now, that helps."
A healthy and productive Morrison is crucial for the Marlins as they seek to improve around a young roster.
The Marlins finished last in the Majors in runs scored (513) and home runs (95), and Morrison is regarded as a central figure in the middle of the lineup.
Morrison's right knee troubles began late in 2011 when he crashed into a wall while attempting to make a catch at Pittsburgh. The first of two surgeries to the same knee took place in December 2011. The knee hampered him in '12, and he opened the '13 campaign on the 60-day disabled list.
Morrison joined the Marlins in June of this past season, and he held up for 85 games. Missing substantial time hindered his production, as he batted .242 with six home runs and 36 RBIs.
Miami hopes Morrison can be a left-handed threat in a lineup desperate for power.
Starting the season healthy would be a giant step for Morrison, who's trying to live up to the potential of when he was regarded as one of the best prospects in the game. The offseason represents a down time for players to recover from a grueling season. But Morrison also believes these months are necessary for a player to get into shape for Spring Training.
"I'm doing the things I need to do to keep my body in shape," he said. "I'm trying to stay in shape, doing cardio and stuff like that. Just get stronger, get healthier. Get better."
From a team standpoint, Morrison notes that now is the time for all players to do their part in preparing themselves for Spring Training.
"Being young, you're going to take your lumps," Morrison said. "But we've got a lot of talent on the field. I think a lot of the work starts right now. What are guys doing to take care of their bodies? What are guys doing to get stronger, healthier? You build from there. I hope the guys are doing that, and realizing that it does start now, and not when Spring Training happens."
Morrison continues to be on the go. He's getting married in early November, and he continues to devote his time and resources to his charitable projects.
The Marlins' nominee for the Robert Clemente Award, Morrison has finalized dates for his annual "LoMo Camp for a Cure," which will be Feb. 8-9 at the Elev|8 Sports Institute in Delray Beach, Fla.
The camp, for youth players 8-18 years old, raises funds and awareness in the battle against lung cancer, which Morrison's father, Tom, died as a result of in 2010. The proceeds will benefit the Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami Hospital in Miami.
Among the current and past players who have committed to the event are Jose Fernandez, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Juan Pierre and Jeff Conine. For details on registration, visit www.LoMo4Lungs.org.
The Marlins are tentatively set to open Spring Training on Feb. 16, at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. After the World Series, MLB's Hot Stove season will get underway, and the Marlins are looking for more offensive help.
Morrison will be entering arbitration for the first time, and he understands the business of the game. While he is the incumbent at first base, the team is exploring all of its options.
The Marlins made a push for Cuban slugger Jose Dariel Abreu, but the first baseman agreed to a deal with the White Sox. Morrison isn't wrapped up in the moves the Marlins may make. He notes that he has to do his part to be prepared, regardless of what direction the team goes.
"I approach it like anything else," he said. "No matter where I'm at, or what situation I'm in, I still have to go out there and produce, and produce at the highest level that I can. The only way I can do that is to take care of my body and go out this offseason and work hard in the weight room and in the cages. Field some ground balls, and just get better. I think a healthy offseason will help me do that."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.