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Hanley eager to return, expects to hit leadoff Tuesday in Philly

After rehabbing in two minor league games up in Jupiter, Hanley Ramirez was back on the Marlins bench Sunday afternoon playing the role of anxious spectator.

And, after watching the Marlins lose for the 13th time in 16 games, the three-time All-Star shortstop said he can't wait to get back on the field. The Marlins are hoping that will happen Tuesday in Philadelphia.

"Only myself knows how bad I really want to be out there," said Ramirez, who has been out since May 30 with a left back strain.

"It's hard being out for one game. 15 days without being on the field doesn't feel good, doesn't feel right. But it's in the past now. My back is better now and I'm going to be able to compete out there."

Manager Edwin Rodriguez said Sunday there's "a big chance" Ramirez, hitting just .210 with four homers and 17 RBI, will be the Marlins new leadoff hitter when he returns.

Before moving to the three hole full-time in 2009, Ramirez was one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball, compiling a .311 career average with 70 homers, 118 stolen bases and 333 runs scored in 400 starts.

"I love it," Ramirez said of hitting leadoff. "Anything for the team. It doesn't matter. I'll be 9, 8, 7, I just want to be out there."

Ramirez, who finished 5-for-8 with an RBI and a run scored in his two rehab starts, took batting practice indoors Sunday and will practice with the team on Monday.

"He said he was a little bit sore, but he should be alright," Rodriguez said. "We need that offense."

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