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The Walking Wounded Report

Josh Willingham may begin his rehab assignment soon .

Marlins left fielder Josh Willingham worked out with manager Fredi Gonzalez and third base/outfield coach Bo Porter before Tuesday's game at Dolphin Stadium.

Willingham shagged some fly balls and threw to the bases from left field. He also ran the bases. Later, he took batting practice with the team.

''It went good,'' Willingham said. ``I'm playing in extended spring training [Wednesday] in Jupiter. Then I hope to play five to seven innings in [Double A] Carolina on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It will all be up to my legs and back, and if I get a hit or two.''

Willingham was placed on the disabled list May 2 (retroactive to April 28) with a strained lower back. He has missed 36 games but could be back with the team before the All-Star break, July 14.

''Everything he did [Tuesday] was good,'' Gonzalez said. ``If everything goes good and he reacts good, maybe [Willingham returns] before the All-Star break in three weeks or 20 days.''

So today, the Marlins will gather up some pub patrons and high school players (not really) to see if the Hammer is good to go.

If he is, then Willingham will get the privilege of paying for the post game spread in Carolina.  It's a tradition.

In other walking wounded news :

In other injury-related news, Anibal Sanchez (right shoulder surgery) threw 40 pitches off the mound on Tuesday. Josh Johnson (Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery) is slated to throw 70-75 pitches in an extended spring game on Saturday.

Sergio Mitre (right forearm strain) threw 30 pitches off the mound on Tuesday.

Outfielder Brett Carroll (right shoulder sprain) is doing range of motion and strengthening drills. Outfielder Alejandro De Aza (left ankle sprain) is on no-run status for three days.

Reliever Henry Owens (right shoulder surgery) is doing strengthening exercises.

I still don't believe we will see one of the starters until August, maybe September, at the earliest.   Though it is possible that Johnson will return before then, but I have my doubts.  And even if we get all of them back, they won't be the same pitcher that you remember.  One day they will be, hopefully, but it probably isn't going to happen this season.


Don't look for Carroll, De Aza or Owens to accomplish anything more than a minor league rehab this year.  Sure, miracles happen, but I wouldn't count on it.