The last time a starting pitcher for the Marlins batted higher than ninth in the lineup was in 2005 when Jack McKeon penciled Dontrelle Willis into the seventh and eighth spots.
Now new manager Dan Jennings is getting in on the act.
Jennings’ lineup Sunday against the Mets had starter David Phelps batting eighth and catcher Jhonatan Solano in the No.9 spot. The reason?
“It’s a little bit of putting more meat on the bone for the top of our order, give RBI opportunities for two through five [in the lineup],” Jennings said.
Jennings said the the lineup wrinkle also provides better double-switch possibilities, and gave Phelps a better chance of dropping down a successful sacrifice bunt with the speedier Christian Yelich hitting in front of him rather than the slower Solano.
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It wasn’t the first time Phelps has batted in the No.8 spot. Yankees manager Joe Girardi also hit him eighth in a game at Colorado in 2013.
extra time to rest
Jennings said Adeiny Hechavarria was available to come off the bench, if necessary, on Sunday. But he didn’t. Hechavarria sat out Saturday, one day after bruising his left shoulder in an outfield collision with Yelich.
“He’s ready,” Jennings said of Hechavarria. “We’re just trying to give him a little time.”
▪ Mat Latos (15-day disabled list, left knee inflammation) will have a bullpen session on Monday and, if all goes well, might make a rehab start on Thursday.
▪ Jarred Cosart (15-day DL, vertigo) and Jose Fernandez (60-day DL, elbow) are scheduled to square off Monday in Jupiter in an extended spring game.
▪ Henderson Alvarez (15-day DL, right shoulder inflammation) has not started throwing. Jennings said he is going through shoulder strengthening treatment.
▪ With his Citi Field-record, 466-foot home run in the ninth inning on Saturday, Giancarlo Stanton supplanted Cliff Floyd at No.10 on the Marlins’ all-time list for hits. The home run was Stanton’s 662nd hit with the Marlins.
Luis Castillo is the all-time franchise leader with 1,273 hits. Just ahead of Stanton at No.9: Juan Pierre with 682 hits.
▪ Dan Haren was used as a pinch-hitter Saturday, becoming the first Marlins pitcher to do so since Javier Vazquez in 2011. The Marlins are playing with a short bench, and Haren — a career .207 hitter — was the logical candidate among the team’s pitchers to swing the bat. Haren has had nine plate appearances as a pinch-hitter over his career, going 1 for 4 with a pair of walks. Haren struck out swinging in Saturday’s pinch at-bat in the eighth.
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Jose Urena (0-1, 9.39 ERA) vs. Chicago Cubs RHP Jason Hammel (3-2, 2.98), 7:10p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (0-1, 4.50) vs. Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 3.76), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.