Starved for scoring production at the top of the order, manager Mike Redmond on Saturday installed hot-hitting Adeiny Hechavarria in the leadoff spot to help ignite the offense.
Hechavarria tops all major-league hitters with a .444 average in July.
“Hopefully, he’ll be a spark up there at the top of the order,” Redmond said.
The Marlins rank 29th in the majors in batting average and on-base percentage from the leadoff spot this season. Only Minnesota ranks below them.
“We all talk about down the road for Hech, and I think we all see him as a top-of-the-order hitter, whether it be leadoff or hitting second,” Redmond said.
Hechavarria, who had half of the Marlins’ six total hits in Friday night’s 3-0 loss to the Brewers, has raised his average from .203 on June 30 to .248 entering play Saturday night.
Ultimately, the Marlins could turn to Christian Yelich to fill the No. 1 hole.
Yelich, the team’s top young hitting prospect, has been leading off at Double A Jacksonville and could soon be promoted by the Marlins.
Hitless in his previous 20 at bats, Justin Ruggiano was moved from the leadoff spot to the No. 7 hole Saturday.
“This is not the first time this season I’ve been grinding through a little slump,” said Ruggiano, who is hitting just .209 but leads the Marlins with 12 home runs.
“I’m well aware of it. Sometimes this game is so easy and you go, ‘Gosh, how does a guy go 0 for 20?’ ”
Pay close attention when Henderson Alvarez takes the mound Sunday.
Alvarez has a quirky windup he only uses for the first pitch to the very first batter.
“I invented it myself,” Alvarez said of the funky windup, which he started using in the minors. “I liked it and stuck with it. One inning only. The first pitch.”
As he is preparing to throw his first pitch, Alvarez places his left foot forward, bends back slightly, brings his arms above his head, and then lowers to the set position before delivering the ball.
Redmond said he hadn’t noticed it before. Alvarez has made only three starts for the Marlins since returning from the disabled list.
“I’m still trying to figure out the glasses thing,” Redmond, laughing, said of Alvarez, who wears athletic eyewear when he pitches. “Sometimes he wears them and sometimes he doesn’t.
“He does some different stuff out there. Sometimes, as a manager, you don’t really want to know the answer.”
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Alvarez (0-1, 4.58 ERA) at Milwaukee Brewers RHP Wily Peralta (7-9, 4.61), 2:10 p.m., Miller Park.
• Monday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (1-5, 4.70) at Colorado Rockies (TBA), 8:40 p.m., Coors Field.
• Scouting report: Opponents are hitting .319 off Alvarez in his three starts since coming off the disabled list. But he has yet to give up a home run after giving up 29 last season for the Toronto Blue Jays.