NEW YORK -- Until the Marlins made him a left fielder overnight, Chris Coghlan hadn't played the outfield on a regular basis since he was 12. Coghlan doesn't have to go back quite that far to remember the last time he batted in the leadoff spot on a daily basis.
"It was probably when I was a (high school) sophomore," Coghlan said.
Coghlan was in the leadoff hole on Saturday, with Emilio Bonifacio dropped to the second spot. Manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he will stick with that 1-2 arrangement long enough to see how it works, that the adjustment is not a one-game experiment.
Coghlan led off in Philadelphia on Monday, but Bonifacio wasn't in the lineup that game. Gonzalez said he wants to keep Bonifacio near the top of the lineup to utilize his speed. But the numbers clearly show that Bonifacio has not reached base sufficiently enough to justify his position atop the order.
The Marlins are demanding that Bonifacio bunt more often. The only time he reached Friday was on a hard slap bunt over the shortstop's head.
"We preach to him that he has got to do it (bunt) at least once a game," Gonzalez said.
-- Hanley Ramirez (sore right groin) returns to the starting lineup this afternoon but is not at full strength and will be monitored carefully. Gonzalez said Ramirez is at about 80 percent strength and has been instructed not to push it over fear he could aggravate the injury.
-- Wes Helms has flu-like symptoms, did not take batting practice, and will probably watch today's game on television from inside the clubhouse. Helms might be able to pitch-hit.
-- If Sean West continues pitching well, it might be difficult to dislodge the rookie from the rotation -- even with Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco nearing comebacks. "I've been really impressed," Gonzalez said of West, who turned in seven strong innings (a run on four hits) against the Mets on Friday. Gonzalez said he likes the way West repeats his delivery, especially for a tall (6-foot-8-inch) pitcher.
-- Gonzalez said he considered having the Mets' Omir Santos intentionally walked to load the bases with one out in the 11th inning on Friday to set up a potential force at every base, but chose not to because it would not have changed his infield positioning with speedy Wilson Valdez due up next. He felt Valdez would have been hard to double up. He was also concerned with the possiblity of a bases-loaded walk or wild pitch. Santos drove in the winning run with a single to left that splintered his bat.
But Santos has been trouble for the Marlins. He hit a grand slam home on April 27 in a 6-run first inning of a Mets victory. On April 29 he stalled for time in an unsuccessful strategy to freeze Marlins closer Matt LIndstrom after Mets manager Jerry Manuel ordered him to go in as a pinch-hitter. Manuel was later fined by the league after confessing to the ploy.