Marlins notebook

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton close to returning

 
 
Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is shown on the field prior to a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park in Miami on April 13, 2013.
Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is shown on the field prior to a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Marlins Park in Miami on April 13, 2013.
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Marlins skipper Mike Redmond hasn’t been able to field the same lineup on back-to-back nights yet this season, but he’s hoping that will change soon.

All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice early on Wednesday and told Redmond he feels good enough to get back in once the team begins a six-game road trip Thursday in Cincinnati.

“It’s huge,” Redmond said of getting his No. 3 hitter back. “We’ve battled, had scrappy at-bats, guys piecing it together. It will be good to get him back in the lineup have some consistency.

“I don’t want to have all these different lineups. I’d love to write a lineup down and say this is our right-handed lineup and this is our left-handed lineup. We just haven’t had that yet. [Thursday] is a start in that process of having a little more stable lineup.”

That is of course if shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria’s sore left elbow turns out to be just a one-day issue. Hechavarria was scratched from the lineup about two hours before the start of Wednesday’s game and replaced by utility man Chris Valaika.

Back in the swing

Backup first baseman Joe Mahoney took his first swings with the team on Wednesday since coming off the disabled list and made quite an impression during batting practice, crushing nine home runs including six into the upper deck in right field.

“Trying to gauge it a little bit,” Mahoney said of his big blasts during practice. “Felt good. I was feeling good down there [in Jupiter]. They have a need and that’s what I’m here for — to help these guys win any way I can.”

With the Marlins facing a left-handed starter Wednesday and Thursday, it’s likely Mahoney won’t get his first start until Friday when the team takes on right-hander Mat Latos in Cincinnati. But even then, Redmond said, he probably won’t put Mahoney into the cleanup spot behind Stanton. Mahoney, a first baseman by trade, could play an outfield corner spot in a pinch, too.

"Right now [Greg] Dobbs has given us good at-bats. Him and Polanco have given us consistent at-bats in that three, four hole. I don’t know that I would take them out of there," Redmond said.

"Like I said, we’re going to figure out where and when we can get him in the game and see what we’ve got. He’s had how many at-bats in the minor leagues? 15, 16 at-bats in A-ball. We just have to get them in there and see where he’s at with his timing and all that stuff. It’s different pitching in the big leagues than in A-ball."

Feeling better

Outfielder Austin Kearns, who got his first start since being hospitalized for a night with an irregular heartbeat Sunday, said it took medication to get his heart back to normal. Kearns said he never had experienced an irregular heartbeat before, but heart problems do run on his father’s side of the family.

Kearns said several teammates came to visit him Sunday night to cheer him up. He was released Monday and cleared before the game Tuesday.

“I really appreciated that,” Kearns said. “They kind of hung out. Some good dudes here.”

• Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, on the disabled list since March 27 with right shoulder inflammation, threw 35 pitches during a bullpen session Wednesday and is scheduled to throw 45 on Saturday. Redmond said Alvarez, slated to be the team’s No. 4 starter before getting injured, would then likely pitch in a simulated game next week.

Coming up

•  Thursday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (0-0, 0.82 ERA) at Cincinnati Reds LHP Tony Cingrani (0-0, 0.00), 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park.

Friday: Marlins RHP Kevin Slowey (0-2, 2.04) at Reds RHP Mat Latos (0-0, 3.26), 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park.

•  Scouting report: Cingrani, a top-100 prospect called up to replace the injured Johnny Cueto in the Reds’ rotation, was off to an incredible start, throwing 14 1/3 shutout innings with a 26-strikeout, 2-walk ratio in Triple A. … According to ESPN Stats, Fernandez is the first pitcher 20 years old or younger to allow one run and three hits or less in his first two big-league starts since the Angels’ Rudy May in 1965.

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