Hanley Returns From DL As Florida Marlins’ Leadoff Hitter
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA — In need of a lift, the Marlins on Tuesday welcomed Hanley Ramirez back to their lineup.
The three-time All-Star shortstop has been reinstated off the disabled list, where he had been for the past 15 days because of a left back strain.
Along with rejoining the roster, Ramirez also is returning to his old place in the batting order — the leadoff spot. The 27-year-old is a career .311 batter in 400 games from the first spot. As a No. 3 hitter, he has a lifetime mark of .308 in 351 games.
“I think he gives the experience presence in the lineup,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “So the young guys don’t have to feel the pressure that they have to get something going, even though he was struggling before he got hurt.”
From his rookie season in 2006 until ’08, Ramirez was one of the top leadoff batters in the game. In 2009, he switched to third in the order, and he won the National League batting title. He has primarily batted third ever since.
Rodriguez said eventually he hopes Ramirez returns to the third spot, and Chris Coghlan goes back to leading off. In the meantime, Rodriguez is leaning toward keeping his shortstop in the leadoff spot.
To make room for Ramirez on the roster, outfielder Scott Cousins was placed on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain.
Rodriguez said Cousins told him a couple of days ago that his back was bothering him. And the manager added that the injury is not related to the outfielder’s collision at home plate with Buster Posey in San Francisco on May 25.
Even though Ramirez is laboring through his roughest season in the big leagues — a .210 average with four homers and 17 RBIs — he still is a threat due to his speed and power.
Without Ramirez, the team certainly had its struggles. The Marlins went 2-12 while he was on the DL, including a 1-10 homestand.
In the 14 games he was out, Florida batted .242 as a team and had a .316 on-base percentage. The club’s 53 runs scored over that span matched San Francisco for only the ninth most in the National League.
Where the offense especially sputtered while Ramirez was out was with runners in scoring position. In those situations, they collectively batted .184 in their last 14 games.
“We’ve been losing a lot of close games, and even though Hanley was struggling, he was walking and getting on base,” Rodriguez said. “Definitely he’s going to help.”