March 26, 2013

Miami Marlins’ Placido Polanco used in cleanup spot

Placido Polanco has done a lot of things over the course of his 15-year career in the majors, and after Monday’s 6-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers, he can add “batting fourth” to the list.

Placido Polanco has done a lot of things over the course of his 15-year career in the majors, and after Monday’s 6-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers, he can add “batting fourth” to the list.

When he was told that he has been in the No. 4 spot seven times, he was surprised.

“Seven times? Really?” he said.

Since returning to play from his strained oblique, the third baseman has been primarily batting second in the order. It makes sense, considering Polanco, 37, has batted second in the order during the course of his career more than 5,100 times.

“It’s one of those things where we’re going to have a lot of different guys hitting in a lot of different spots. I like Polanco there,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He gives you a veteran bat, a guy who puts the ball in play, he can hit behind runners, he can hit-and-run. ... It might be a nice fit behind [ Giancarlo ] Stanton .”

As Redmond continues to say that the order is always subject to change based on the situation at hand, it won’t be Polanco’s last time hitting fourth.

“We’ll maybe throw him back there a couple of days and see how it goes. We’ve hit him second most of the time because I really wanted to get him more at-bats,” Redmond said. “At this point, I want to see how that works and see how the lineup responds to him being a little lower in the order.”

Polanco went 1 for 3, doubling in his first at-bat. He can remember back to 1998, in one of his first games with St. Louis, when he hit ninth in the order, behind the pitcher.

“I remember [ Tom ] Pagnozzi telling me, ‘Are you going to take that?’ ” Polanco said. “I said, ‘I have two days in the big leagues, I’m extremely happy with that.’ ”

Solano progressing

Redmond is eager to get second baseman Donovan Solano back into play and believes he can fill the two-spot when he’s ready to return. A stiff back has held Solano out since last Wednesday.

Solano will likely see a game with the minor-league side of camp to get his at-bats in before taking on a Grapefruit League game as the season comes to a close in Jupiter on Thursday.

Turner’s status

Before the Marlins were rained out in Kissimmee on Sunday, Jacob Turner battled in a tough test for a spot in the rotation. Miami lost 4-1 in five innings of play. The right-hander gave up four earned runs on five hits, with four walks and a strikeout.

A rough spring has put the 21-year-old’s abilities to help the major-league rotation in question, but a decision when the clubhouse opened Monday hadn’t been made.

“We met this morning, and we’re still going over it,” Redmond said.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc , one of the candidates in the mix, worked five innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs in the loss. He struck out four Detroit batters.

• Is anything written in stone at camp? Redmond laughs when he offers up that Steve Cishek is a certainty in the bullpen. The rest will be down to the wire, but he plans to carry 12 pitchers on his staff.

Historically, the Marlins haven’t been afraid to add to the Opening Day roster late. On March 30, 2010, they acquired LHP Nate Robertson from the Tigers for minor-leaguer Jay Voss and cash considerations, just six days before the season opened. Robertson’s time with the Marlins was short-lived — he was designated for assignment on July 21 and later released.

Coming up

•  Tuesday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (1-0, 4.70 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals RHP Dan Haren (0-4, 6.05), 1:05 p.m. Jupiter.
•  Wednesday: Marlins RHP Kevin Slowey (0-0, 2.63) vs. Boston Red Sox LHP Jon Lester (3-0, 0.90), 1:35 p.m. Fort Myers.

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