Notes: Hammy no trouble for Maybin
Smooth return for rookie center fielder after last week's tweak
JUPITER, Fla. -- A single, a couple of all-out sprints and an overall encouraging return for Cameron Maybin.
Back in the lineup after tweaking his left hamstring last Friday, Maybin once again found himself starting in center field for the Marlins on Thursday.
In his first at-bat, he slapped the first pitch he saw off Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer into left field for a single. If the hamstring was troubling him, you wouldn't have known it.
Given the green light, the 20-year-old stole second base. And in his second at-bat, he grounded sharply to third base. While he was thrown out, his burst of speed to the bag showed that he is moving without any problems.
"It was like he was never hurt," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's nice to be 20 again, feeling no pain."
A top-rated prospect, Maybin missed almost a week of action, but he projects to get back into the hunt for the starting center-field job.
Maybin's biggest holdup is his overall inexperience. With the Tigers last year, he had 49 big league at-bats. And he has just 69 at-bats higher than Class A ball.
The limited experience against high-quality pitching is about the only thing blocking him from being a regular starter in the Majors.
"I feel like, wherever I may be -- and hopefully it is in Miami, or whatever level -- that I'm a guy who needs those everyday at-bats," Maybin said. "If I get those at-bats, then everything will work itself out."
Swiping a base also was significant.
"That's the thing I like about these coaches is they are going to allow me to show my speed," he said. "It's definitely a big part of my game."
Olsen update: Usually talkative Scott Olsen didn't have much to say on Thursday about the tendinitis in his left shoulder.
Initially in line to start on Thursday, Olsen was scratched in favor of prospect Aaron Thompson.
"They've got a plan, and I don't want to talk about it," said Olsen, projected to be the Opening Day starter. "It's just something. It's going to get fixed."
Olsen did some conditioning on the field on Thursday, and he's not expected to throw for three or four days.
"He's got a little tender shoulder, and we're just going to shut him down for about three or four days and see where we're at," Gonzalez said.
Asked if he was concerned about injuries to the rotation, Gonzalez said, "Not yet. I think we can get those guys back in time, come April."
Mitre throws: Sergio Mitre threw off flat ground from 60 feet for about 10 minutes on Thursday. It's the first time the right-hander has thrown since he experienced a tight forearm muscle.
Afterwards, he said he was fine.
In contention for a top-of-the-rotation spot, Mitre is expected to throw again on Friday.
He felt arm discomfort in the first inning of his first start, on Feb. 28 at the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Thompson's chance: With Olsen scratched from Thursday's start, Thompson made his first spring start.
He had mixed results, giving up two runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts. The 21-year-old, who was one of five first-round picks in 2005, has impressed the staff this spring.
While Thompson likely will open the season at Double-A Carolina, he is making a case for a rotation spot.
"I've always said it's tough in the Minor Leagues to really show if you are a gamer or not, because it's about development," Thompson said. "It's about getting your pitches in and getting your innings in. I'm a gamer. When I get in a situation like that, I get myself going, it's exciting."
Back-to-back-to-back: What had been pretty much a perfect spring turned a little bumpy for Kevin Gregg on Thursday.
The right-hander worked the fifth inning and surrendered three straight homers to Skip Schumaker, Joe Mather and Albert Pujols.
Gregg, the closer, has been seeing action in the middle innings. On Thursday, the damage came in the fifth, and it snapped a string of three scoreless innings this spring.
"The ironic thing about this game is I thought I threw a lot better today than I did in the last couple of outings," Gregg said. "Go figure."
Able to keep his sense of humor, Gregg joked that Troy Glaus must had had "dirt in his eye" for striking out after Pujols and not making it four consecutive blasts.
Up next: Andrew Miller (0-0, 1.80) gets the starting nod for Florida on Friday in Jupiter, Fla. at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Nationals are going with Garrett Mock (0-0, 2.45).
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.