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Hanley bids for 1,000 and beyond, Stanton's first impressions of Wrigley, Jack waxes nostaligic over '03 and Bartman

    CHICAGO -- Everyone rested up for the 'second half?" The Marlins return to the field tonight at historic Wrigley Field for the first of a four-game series here in the Windy City. And the wind, for now, is blowing in as the Marlins prepare to take batting practice.

    Hanley Ramirez is two hits away from 1,000 for his career and becoming only the third Marlin to reach four digits with the team, joining Luis Castillo (1,273) and Jeff Conine (1,005).

    "How many years? Five and a half? That means I've got to go 15 to get to 3,000," Ramirez said.

    Ramirez, jokingly, said he thought his 1,000th hit would be a grand slam.

    "Today, during early hitting, I felt like the first day of spring training," said Ramirez, who wasn't at the All-Star Game for the first time in four years and spent the time at home in South Florida, resting.

     But he said he watched both the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game despite not being a participant for the first time since 2007.

     "That's what I do," Ramirez said. "I think I learn from it."

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     Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison are each making their first visit to the "friendly confines" of Wrigley. Stanton was struck by the beauty of the old park while Morrison was literally struck -- twice in fact, while bumping his head on the low dugout overhang.

     "It's real old-school," Stanton said. "I know there's a lot of history here and it's going to be fun to play here. It felt good (to hit). It's weird. (The ivy-covered wall) seems a lot farther than it is. The fences look farther, but they don't feel that way when you hit it."

     Stanton drew oohs and ahhs from the early-arrivals when hit a couple of mammoth shots during batting practice.

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     And, of course, everyone was asking Jack McKeon about his memories of the old ballpark. This is his first visit back since his last season managing the Marlins in 2005.

     "I'd like to do it again here," McKeon said of '03 when the Marlins, down 3-2 in the NLCS to the Cubs, won games six and seven at Wrigley to advance to the World Series. "It was special."

     McKeon still defends Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan who became instantly famous when he got his hands on a foul ball in Game 6 of the NLCS, thus denying Moises Alou a chance to reach up and make the catch. The Marlins rallied to win the game after that point.

     "Bartman, he's the guy who really took the beating for something," McKeon said. "A couple of years later, in New York, Moises Alou comes out and says I couldn't have caught that ball. I said why didn't you do that when you were there? The poor kid got crucified. But, water over the dam. It was a long time ago."

     TONIGHT'S LINEUPS:

     Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, 3b; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 4. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 5. Logan Morrison, lf; 6. Mike Stanton, rf; 7. Mike Cameron, cf; 8. John Buck, c; 9. Anibal Sanchez, p.

     Cubs: 1. Kosuke Fukodome, rf; 2. Starlin Castro, ss; 3. Aramis Ramirez, 3b; 4. Carlos Pena, 1b: 5. Marlon Byrd, cf; 6. Alfonso Soriano, lf; 7. Geovany Soto, c; 8. Darwin Barney, 2b: 9. Matt Garza, p.       

     

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