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Thursday, March 22, 2012
Hairston gets into swing

By Adam Rubin

Scott Hairston, who has been sidelined since the start of Grapefruit League play by a strained left oblique muscle, swung a bat 40 times Thursday and pronounced himself fit to continue ramping up activity.

Hairston plans to advance to hitting off a tee and with balls flipped to him in a cage Friday. He still is hopeful that continued progress will allow him to be ready for Opening Day.

"It went well," Hairston said about Thursday's dry swings. "I took about 40 swings and don't feel any pain at all."

Much like a reliever needs somewhat less preparation time for a season than a starting pitcher, Hairston would need less time than, say, David Wright, since Hairston is projected to primarily be a right-handed bat for the bench.

Hairston being ready on Opening Day would alleviate a major headache for Terry Collins, who is searching for alternatives in case Andres Torres' calf injury persists. Infielder Jordany Valdespin finished Thursday's Grapefruit League game in center field.

Hairston is the primary alternative to Torres in center field.