It's been a busy day at the office for the Marlins.
New skipper Dan Jennings has already made an interesting move with the first lineup and had to make changes to it not longer after the ink dried on it.
The interesting move: Jennings has given Justin Bour his first start of the season in the cleanup spot, giving the struggling Michael Morse another day off. Bour has been hot this season, batting .440 with one homer and three RBI in a limited role (four starts) under previous manager Mike Redmond.
The change that had to be made: Center fielder Marcell Ozuna was scratched from the lineup. He had to leave the team to go deal with a personal issue. President of Baseball Operations Mike Hill said the Marlins don't believe Ozuna will be out longer than a day or two.
As for starting Bour, Jennings said: "Trying to create some left-right leverage in the lineup. Let’s see what happens."
"As I told these guys there are 13 position players that are going to be utilized," Jennings continued. "We’ll get days off. We’ll utilize the bench, we’ll rest our regulars and we all need to be ready to contribute when the bell rings. Go with hot hands, go with matchups. There's a lot of things to look at."
As for Morse, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal in the off-season and his hitting .210 with three homers and 11 RBI, Jennings said: "Michael Morse is a winner. We have the utmost confidence in him.
"He is going through something right now that he is struggling offensively," Jennings continued. "Every player goes through it some time during each year. He will be fine. We believe in him. That’s his position at first base. Now it’s just a matter of ironing out the kinks and getting the swing right to where the rhythm and production are there."
Will there be a platoon at first base? "We’ll read into that as the season unfolds," Jennings said. "Right now Justin has come up and done very very well for this ball club. As I said, we believe in Michael Morse. We know his ability. He’s a lifetime very productive major league hitter. Right now it’s a hot hand situation until Mike gets his swing ironed out, and I know he will."
> Jennings said his plan is to stick with AJ Ramos as his closer for now. Redmond had said he might use others in the closer's role.
"We’ll try to get Shrek some work," Jennings said of former closer Steve Cishek. "I thought he made some great strides the other day on the mechanical thing that he needed to get fixed. We will look to continue to get him the work and continue to iron that out."
> Jennings said he expects pitcher Mat Latos, who was nailed in his right shin by a comebacker Saturday, to make his next scheduled start Thursday. "He’s got an ugly looking bruise," Jennings said. "But he’s mentally a tough guy.'
TRADING IN THE COAT FOR JERSEY
Jennings said he received over 300 text messages from people around baseball after they heard of his moving from the front office to the dugout.
"I’ve read maybe 20," he said. "They are very positive, a lot of encouragement. I’m pulling for you DJ, it’s a bold move. For the most part very favorable, and I’m very appreciative."
Jennings said it felt good to put on a uniform rather than the front office coat and tie.
"I had some stares and catcalls, which is to be expected," Jennings said. "When I was a scout we had to put them on. We had different tryout camps and functions. I would say until about 1998, 99, that I put them on at that time. Even as a scouting director in Tampa there would be times that I would uni up during instrucitonal league and things of that nature."
Asked if he feels like a rookie manager, Jennings said: "I feel like a rookie manager and an experienced baseball man."