Miami Marlins corner position players faltering

As first basemen Logan Morrison and Joe Mahoney moved closer to rejoining the Marlins by beginning their minor-league injury-rehab assignments this week in Jupiter, the team continued to search for run production from corner positions that traditionally provide it.

Three of the Marlins’ four corner position players — first baseman Greg Dobbs, third baseman Placido Polanco and left fielder Juan Pierre — either rank dead last, or close to it, at their respective fielding positions offensively.

Throw in right fielder Giancarlo Stanton’s slow start and injury, and the picture dims even further.

How bad is it?

• Polanco ranks 29th out of the 29 regular third basemen in OPS (on-base plus slugging), a widely accepted statistical measure of a player’s offensive ability.

• Pierre ranks 27th of the 27 left fielders in OPS.

• Dobbs ranks 30th of the 32 first baseman.

• And among right fielders with at least 75 plate appearances, the injured Stanton ranks 23rd out of 38 players.

Together, the lack of production at those four positions is a major reason why the Marlins are the lowest-scoring team in the majors.

While injuries have forced Dobbs, a skilled bench player, into an everyday situation that is not suited for him, the others were penciled into their positions at season’s start.

They might not be there by season’s end, however.

If the Marlins promote center fielder Christian Yelich from the minors next month and Stanton returns from his hamstring injury, Marcell Ozuna could move to left, supplanting Pierre.

Diaz on DL

The Marlins placed outfielder Matt Diaz on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised left knee and called up outfielder Jordan Brown from Triple A New Orleans.

Diaz said he injured the knee in San Diego when he hit the brakes on the base paths and felt the knee “grab.”

“We got the pain gone,” Diaz said, “but the stability’s not there. Like any bruise, it needs time to heal.”

When it was mentioned that Heat star Dwyane Wade is also dealing with a bruised knee, Diaz replied, laughing: “I’d love to hang out and talk about it with him over a beer or two.”

Diaz had gone 3 for 18 (2 for 7 as a pinch-hitter).

Brown, who will be used off the bench, received his only major-league action in 2010 with Cleveland, where he hit .230 in 87 at-bats.

Coming up

•  Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (2-2, 3.48 ERA) vs. Philadelphia Phillies RHP Tyler Cloyd (0-0, 2.84), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Wednesday: Marlins RHP Kevin Slowey (1-4, 3.44) vs. Phillies LHP Cliff Lee (4-2, 2.83), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Scouting report: Although Fernandez will be making only his ninth big-league start, it will be his third against the Phillies. In his two outings against Philadelphia, Fernandez has held the Phillies to only three hits and no runs in 13 total innings.

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