Originally written on MarlinsBaseball.com  |  Last updated 2/19/12

Pitchers and Catchers are scheduled to report on Wednesday for the Miami Marlins although a handful have already arrived in Jupiter.   The rest of the players are required to arrive by March 2, with many expected to be in camp prior to this day.     Most of the roster is set in stone but there are a few spots up for grabs this Spring and a large amount of non-roster invitees vying for those spots.

As with most seasons, the bench is the biggest area for competition this Spring.    The Marlins will have either four or five bench spots depending on how manager Ozzie Guillen designs his roster.    Two spots will go to Greg Dobbs and Brett Hayes.   The remaining spots will be split amongst infield and outfield depth.

In camp amongst many others are two veteran outfielders, Aaron Rowand and Austin Kearns.    They will compete with Scott Cousins, Chris Coghlan and Bryan Petersen for what could amount to one roster spot.   Petersen’s solid 2011 with the Fish would normally give him the upper-hand heading into camp but Rowand has played for Guillen before and that may be a factor.   Former Rookie of the Year, Coghlan will look to turn his career around but will most likely start the year in AAA.   Cousins who dealt with an injury shortened season in 2011 has a shot at the bench role but he too may be asked to put in a little time in AAA.    Kearns would have to be looked at as the least likely to win a roster spot, and should serve as outfield depth in the minor leagues at least to start 2012.    Should two spots go to the outfielders here, the leaders out of the gate would appear to be Petersen and Rowand but solid production from the others in the Spring could sway decisions.

If the Marlins have a five man bench and elect to bring in two reserve outfielders, that would leave one spot for the likes of Donnie Murphy, Matt Dominguez, Nick Green and Terry Tiffee to compete over.    The latter two are non roster invitees and will most likely head to the minor leagues as depth for the organization.   The same goes for Dominguez who the Marlins will likely want to see getting ABs in the minors rather than sitting on the bench in the big leagues.    Dominguez’s future with the Marlins is a big question mark with third base now held by Hanley Ramirez.   His trade value could improve though if he can put up a solid season in New Orleans.    That leaves Murphy and he is likely to make the Opening Day roster at this time.   He’ll join Dobbs as the reserve infielders and like Dobbs, he offers an ability to play more than one position.

Besides the roster battles outlined above, there is also the little case of Ramirez moving to third base and learning the position in a month.   It should be an exciting Spring in Jupiter.

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