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Hanley Ramirez back in leadoff spot

NEW YORK -- Fredi Gonzalez said after Saturday's 6-1 loss to the Mets he was going to tinker with his lineup. He sure did.

Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez is back in the leadoff spot for the first time since the final game of the 2008 season. Gonzalez said the move isn't permanent, but Ramirez, who is struggling to produce with runners in scoring position in the No. 3 hole, could still be hitting in the top spot when the Marlins open their next series in Philadelphia Tuesday.

"It's nothing permanent," Gonzalez said. "Usually what I've done in the past is give him the day off, give him a little breather. But with a day off tomorrow [why?] We'll see how it goes today."

Ramirez, a career .313 hitter in the leadoff spot, is hitting .286 with 8 home runs, 29 RBI, 25 walks and 29 strikeouts through 56 games. Last season through 56 games, he was .332 with 7 HRs, 19 RBI, 19 walks and 33 strikeouts. The biggest difference between this year's Ramirez and last year's is batting average with runners in scoring position. A year ago, he was one of the best in the game, hitting .373 for the season in those situations. So far in the two games in New York, he's gone 0-for-4 in those situations to drop his season average with runners in scoring position to .236 (13 for 55).

"I don't think its the pitchers pitching him any different," Gonzalez said. "The pitch selection might be different."

No reporters were able to nab Ramirez before the game to ask him about being moved up in the lineup. But Gonzalez said he had no problem with it. He said he also spoke with Chris Coghlan, who was moved down No. 2 in the order after turning up his play in the leadoff spot. Gonzalez said he told Coghlan not to change his approach at all.

"He's a big part of that middle of the lineup," Gonzalez said of Ramirez, who won the batting title a year ago with a .342 average in his first full season as the team's No. 3 hitter. "He knows he's scuffling a little bit right now. He wants to stay in the lineup, which is a good sign... It's one of those things we talk about that happens. But at the end of the year, the water always reaches its level. I think that's what we'll see with him."

MARLINS LINEUP: 1. Hanley Ramirez SS, 2. Chris Coghlan LF, 3. Dan Uggla 2B, 4. Jorge Cantu 3B, 5. Ronny Paulino C, 6. Cody Ross RF, 7. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 8. Cameron Maybin CF, 9. Ricky Nolasco RHP.

> Couple more tidbits: Catcher John Baker (on the disabled list with a strained right flexor muscle) went 2 for 2 with 2 walks as a designated hitter in Jupiter Saturday night. Gonzalez said he expects Baker to catch a few innings on Thursday. 

Left-hander Renyel Pinto (on the disabled list with a strained left hip) pitched 2/3 of an inning, walked two and struck out two. He'll pitch two more innings and likely rejoin the team when he comes of the disabled list June 11th when the Marlins are in Tampa.

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