Like every catcher, Jeff Mathis' body is a catalogue of hard knocks.

"I've broke my face, wrists. Nothing compared to the pain that was in my collarbone," said Mathis, who finally became an active member of the Marlins on Tuesday.

One of the players acquired in the offseason trade with Toronto, Mathis was injured in the third inning of the first spring training game Feb. 23 when a foul ball off the bat of the Cardinals' Matt Holliday fractured his right collarbone.

The first couple weeks the injury was so painful that Mathis rarely left his recliner chair. It even hurt when he moved his left hand.

Once it healed he faced a painstaking process of regaining the strength to return to play the arduous position.

"Specifically throwing — mentally and physically," he said. "When I took the sling off it was amazing how much atrophy took place in my shoulder. That's been the biggest grind, just trying to get the strength back in my shoulder."

Mathis' mishap started what manager Mike Redmond termed an avalanche of injuries that have swept through the Marlins' roster. Mathis was to be a veteran complement to rookie catcher Rob Brantly.

With his return the Marlins will carry three catchers at least for a while. Miguel Olivo may see some action at first base.

"Having three catchers does give us some flexibility," Redmond said. "[Olivo] gives us a right-handed bat off the bench, or Mathis as well."

Mathis is a seven-year veteran, mostly with the Angles, who is better known for his defensive prowess. In 496 games, he has a .198 average with 34 home runs.

"He's a proven catcher in the big leagues. He would have been back there catching a lot to this point had he not gotten hurt," Redmond said. "This is a steady defensive player. I like the way he is with the other guys and the way he can teach our pitchers how to pitch."