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Conine closer, vows to be fit for opener
By Juan C. Rodriguez
Posted March 21 2005
JUPITER · Despite two offseason shoulder surgeries, Jeff Conine has maintained he will be ready for Opening Day. After seeing live pitching for the first time Sunday, Conine was even more secure in his conviction.
Conine went 2 for 4 with a walk in a Triple-A game against Cardinals minor leaguers. He saw 21 pitches as a pseudo-designated hitter and reached on a pair of singles.
While his teammates are in Viera today playing the Nationals, Conine again will see action in a Triple-A contest, this time playing defense as well.
If all goes well, he'll make his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday against the Dodgers in Jupiter.
"Hopefully it's full go from here on out," Conine said. "There are no ill effects at all in hitting. I don't notice it one bit. ... I'm probably a little bit behind in playing shape compared to everyone else, so we'll probably ease into it and maybe play every day the last week or something."
Conine remains on a throwing program to get his arm through normal spring training soreness.
Once he's back with no limitations he'll likely have to play his way into the lineup. The Carlos Delgado acquisition pushed Conine back into an outfield that already includes Miguel Cabrera, Juan Pierre and Juan Encarnacion.
"I think I'll be physically ready to go," Conine said. "It's up to them who they want to put in the starting lineup."
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