Since he's managed the Marlins Mike Redmond hasn't been able to put the same lineup on the field on back-to-back nights yet this season. In fact, he's put 14 different lineups on the field in the team's first 15 games.
Redmond hopes that begins to change Thursday in Cincinnati when All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is expected to be back in the lineup.
Stanton, who is out of the lineup for the sixth straight day Wednesday with a bruised left shoulder, took batting practice early on Wednesday and told Redmond he feels good enough to get back in there once the Marlins take off on a five-game road trip. There's a chance Stanton could pinch-hit late in the game Wednesday, Redmond said, if the Marlins need him. But the preference is to give him the night off.
"It's huge," Redmond said of getting his No. 3-hitter back. "We've kept battling. Obviously we know he's such a big part of our lineup. But at the same time too these games don't stop. You keep playing, keep grinding. Guys have to fill that spot until he gets back. We've battled, had scrappy at-bats, guys piecing it together. It will be good to get him back in the lineup with that consistency.
"I don't want to have all these different lineups. I'd love to write a lineup down and say this is our right-handed lineup and this is our left-handed lineup. We just haven't had that yet. Tomorrow is a start in that process of having a little more stable lineup."
> UPDATE... And just when Redmond spends 10 minutes speaking of lineup stability, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria gets scratched from Wednesday's lineup with a sore right elbow.
> Outfielder Austin Kearns, making his first start since he was hospitalized for a night on Sunday with an irregular heartbeat, said Wednesday his heartbeat is something he will have to monitor the rest of the season. Kearns, who turns 33 on May 20th, said it took medication to get his heart back to normal.
"I was a little nervous, never had anything like that before," Kearns said. "Stuff kind of in my family -- my dad's side, heart problems run on that side. That was kind of the red flag for me."
Kearns said several Marlins teammates came to visit him Sunday night to cheer him up. He was released on Monday and cleared for baseball activities before the game Tuesday.
"I really appreciated that," Kearns said of his teammates' hospital visit. "They kind of hung out. Some good dudes here."
> Center fielder Justin Ruggiano said if the Marlins' offense continues to produce as it did Tuesday he's going to find a way to bring the five-foot, 50-pound bat he brought out for batting practice before the game on the road trip. Ruggiano referred to the bat, a gift to video coaching coordinator Cullen McRae for his 40th birthday, as the teams' rally bat.
"If we score eight runs tonight and win I'm bringing it on the airplane with me, putting it on the seat right next to me," Ruggiano said.
> Redmond was happy to see backup first baseman Joe Mahoney taking swings with the team on Wednesday. The big 6-6, 245-pounder left-handed hitter took his first cuts with the Marlins since coming off the disabled list with an intercostal strain. During batting practice Wednesday against Redmond, Mahoney crushed nine home runs including six into the upper deck in right field -- the kind of power rarely seen from a left-handed hitter with the Marlins.
"Trying to gage it a little bit," Mahoney said of his big blasts during BP. "Felt good. I was feeling good down there [in Jupiter]. They have a need and that's what I'm here for -- to help these guys win any way I can."
With the Marlins facing a left-hander Wednesday and Thursday it's likely Mahoney won't get his first start until Friday when the team takes on right-hander Mat Latos in Cincinnati. But even then, Redmond said, he probably won't put Mahoney into the cleanup spot behind Stanton.
"Right now [Greg] Dobbs has given us good at-bats. Him and Polanco have given us consistent at-bats in that three, four hole. I don't know that I would take them out of there," Redmond said. "Like I said, we're going to figure out where and when we can get him in the game and see what we've got. He's had how many at-bats in the minor leagues? 15, 16 at-bats in A-ball. We just have to get them in there and see where he's at with his timing and all that stuff. It's different pitching in the big leagues than in A-ball."
Mahoney, a first baseman by trade, could play an outfield corner spot in a pinch, too.
> Right-hander Henderson Alvarez, on the disabled list since March 27th with right-shoulder inflammation, threw 35 pitches during a bullpen session Wednesday and is scheduled to throw 45 on Saturday. Redmond said Alvarez, slated to be the team's No. 4 starter before getting hurt, would then likely pitch in a simulated game next week.
> Marlins closer Steve Cishek, a native of Falmouth, Mass. and a huge Red Sox fan growing up, said he was happily surprised by the fact Sweet Caroline was played during the eighth inning of Tuesday's game in honor of the victims in Boston. The song is a fixture at Fenway Park and Red Sox games.
"I knew we were going to have a moment of silence, but when they brought out Sweet Caroline I thought it was pretty awesome," Cishek said. "I saw the Yankees did it too. That was classy. It's cool to see that even with the rivalry. Everyone is aware of what's happened and just showing their respect to the people who suffered. It's been cool to see."
Cishek said his friend's girlfriend, who was injured in the bombings, had surgery Tuesday for burns on her body and could have surgery again Friday. "My family and friends and I just keep praying for her and anybody affected," he said.
> Marlins (3-11): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Placido Polanco 3B, 4. Justin Ruggiano CF, 5. Greg Dobbs 1B, 6. Austin Kearns RF, 7. Miguel Olivo C, 8. Chris Valaika SS, 9. Ricky Nolasco RHP.