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Ramos unavailable for first Grapefruit League game

Marlins erring on side of caution as reliever deals with strained right calf
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins manager Don Mattingly is confident reliever A.J. Ramos won't be set back too much due to his strained right calf. Ramos threw off the mound on Friday and remains on a regular throwing program.

The club is just taking it easy with the right-hander, holding him out of situations where he would have to make sudden movements coming off the mound.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins manager Don Mattingly is confident reliever A.J. Ramos won't be set back too much due to his strained right calf. Ramos threw off the mound on Friday and remains on a regular throwing program.

The club is just taking it easy with the right-hander, holding him out of situations where he would have to make sudden movements coming off the mound.

"He will be ready, unless something would go totally wrong," Mattingly said. "He's running now. He's throwing his 'pens. He hasn't missed any of those. He just hasn't done the live [batting practice] yet. As much as anything, we're being really cautious with A.J. We know that we want him ready in April. We're not really so much worried if he is ready to pitch the first game of the Grapefruit League."

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Miami opens its exhibition season on Tuesday against the University of Miami at Roger Dean Stadium. The Grapefruit League gets underway on Thursday against the Cardinals.

Ramos, who saved 32 of 38 opportunities last year, won't be available for that game.

"We're just being cautious," Mattingly said. "We have no real concerns about A.J."

As for the rest of the roster, the team is relatively healthy. There are some normal soreness issues, and some players are going through various running schedules.

Worth noting

• Mattingly repeated first baseman Justin Bour will get an opportunity to face left-handed pitching. Last year, Bour batted .221 against southpaws compared to .270 against right-handers. All 23 of Bour's home runs were against righties, as well as all but nine of his 73 RBIs. If Bour struggles with lefties, Chris Johnson is a platoon option at first base.

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• Dustin McGowan is a hard-throwing reliever who has dealt with shoulder and oblique issues the past few seasons. The 33-year-old righty is a non-roster invitee who promises to get plenty of attention in Spring Training.

McGowan has logged 505 2/3 career big league innings, most of them with the Blue Jays. He was with the Phillies last year, appearing in 23 1/3 frames. McGowan could be a sleeper candidate to make Miami's Opening Day roster.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, Justin Bour, A.J. Ramos