Needless to say, manager Mike Redmond was one happy camper Monday. For the first time since taking over, he was able to fill out a lineup card that contained the names of both Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison.
"I had a lot more fun than I've had and it was a lot easier than it has been in the past," Redmond said. "Getting LoMo back yesterday, you could just sense, just feel that guys were excited. And knowing Stanton was coming back today definitely energizes the team."
Stanton, who has been out since April 29 with a hamstring injury, was activated from the disabled list and immediately thrown in the lineup. He'll bat third, with Marcell Ozuna now sitting in the luxury spot behind Stanton and in front of Morrison. With Stanton returning to right field, Ozuna moves to center, even though he doesn't have a lot of playing experience at the position.
Clearly, the lineup looks infinitely more formidable than it has despite the fact Stanton struggled in April with a .227 average and only three home runs and Morrison was no great shake last season, ending up with a .230 average. But Stanton also had a slow April last year before turning it on and bashing 37 home runs. And Morrison hit 23 homers in 123 games in 2010.
"It stretches our lineup so we can drop (Derek) Dietrich down a little bit farther," Redmond said of the second baseman, who is batting sixth in tonight's lineup. "It gives a little length to our order. It makes the middle of our lineup more of a threat."
Ozuna isn't complaining, that's for sure. Theoretically, with Stanton hitting in front of him, he should see more to hit, not that he wasn't raking minus the menacing presence of the Marlins' slugger.
"Our lineup is better now," Ozuna said. "I've got protection now. If they don't pitch to Stanton, they'll pitch to me. If they don't pitch me, they'll pitch to LoMo. We've got a better chance of winning right now. We've got a chance to score runs now."
Stanton was obviously happy to be finished with his minor league rehab assignment at Single A Jupiter and back with the parent club. Stanton went 0 for 15 with the Hammerheads.
"Finally, a little get-together of what people thought this lineup would look like," Stanton said. "Obviously, the lineup's a lot better. I'm just happy I'm finally here and can contribute now. It's been a long time."
Asked if he was 100 percent healthy, Stanton replied: "I'm good enough to be here."
When I said his response "didn't sound like 100 percent," Stanton bristeled: "I'm 100 percent. There you go. I mean, I wasn't able to play...we had three doubleheaders. Obviously I can't play the doubleheaders. I didn't run a marathon up there. I'm fine to be here. Thank you."
Asked if thought he would be able to play consecutive games, Stanton replied: "I prefer just to be out there. So as long as I don't get extra sore playing a few days in a row, I'd rather be out there than resting. I've had enough rest this season."
Redmond said he would be careful with Stanton and monitor him closely.
"We'll see how he goes, see how he feels," Redmond said. "We'll monitor his health from day to day. LoMo too. We want to make sure we have these guys for the long haul. We've got to take are of these guys and make sure they last the rest of the season. We've got to make sure we get him (Stanton) a break, if he needs a break."
Like pretty much everyone else, Stanton said it hasn't been easy watching the Marlins lose constantly.
"Some of those games I don't like to sit and watch," Stanton said. "Well, all of them I don't like to sit and watch. Some were uglier than others."
While the Marlins wasted no time putting Stanton back in the lineup the first opportunity they could do so, the same couldn't be said for Donovan Solano, who ended up being dispatched to Triple A New Orleans when he came off the DL on Monday. Solano, the Marlins' opening day second baseman, had his job taken in his absence by Dietrich.
"Unfortuantely in this game, sometimes when you get hurt, it's not a guarantee you're going to be back out there when you get healthy," Redmond said. "Dietrich came up, has done a tremendous job. He's won that spot."
The Marlins also activated first baseman Joe Mahoney from the DL and, like Solano, optioned him to New Orleans.
Morrison had two hits in his first game back on Sunday and said he felt like a rookie all over again.
"It felt really good," Morrison said. "Just the hard work and the surgery and pain and rehab, and all that stuff...it goes to show that it didn't just go for nothing. It was for getting back out there and playing on the biggest stage."
-- Nathan Eovaldi's rehab start on Sunday was shortened by rain after one inning. Redmond said he'll make another rehab start on Thursday for Double A Jacksonville.
-- Henderson Alvarez will begin his rehab assignment on Thursday at Jupiter.
-- The Marlins are awaiting the results of a MRI performed on Chris Coghlan, who landed on the DL with right calf nerve irritation.