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Dan Jennings explains "creative" lineup configuration with pitcher batting 8th

NEW YORK -- The last time a pitcher for the Marlins was positioned anywhere other the ninth spot in the lineup was in 2005 when Jack McKeon penciled Dontrelle Willis into the seventh (two times) and eighth (two times) spots.

Now new manager Dan Jennings is getting in on the act.

Jennings' lineup for today's game against the Mets and Bartolo Colon has starter David Phelps batting eighth and catcher Jhonatan Solano in the No. 9 spot.

The reason?

"It's a little bit of putting more meat on the bone for the top of our order, give RBI opportunities for two through five (in the lineup)," Jennings said.

Jennings said the the lineup wrinkle also provides better double-switch possibilities, and gives Phelps a better chance of dropping down a successful sacrifice bunt with the speedier Christian Yelich hitting in front of him rather than the slower Solano.

Jennings also has Ichiro Suzuki batting in the fifth spot based on his prior success against Colon (.317 average in 102 career plate appearances).

"We just looked at it in the perspective of today knowing that Johnatan was going to start," Jennings said. "Trying to be a little creative with the personnel we had playing today. We'll see how it unfolds."

Here's the lineup as the Marlins go for their first road sweep since July of last season: 1. Dee Gordon 4; 2 2. Martin Prado 5; 3. Giancarlo Stanton 9; 4. Justin Bour 3; 5. Ichiro Suzuki 8; 6. Donovan Solano 6; 7. Christian Yelich 7; 8. David Phelps 1; 9. Jhonatan Solano 2.

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Jennings said Adeiny Hechavarria is available to come off the bench, if necessary. Hechavarria sat out Saturday, one day after bruising his left shoulder in an outfield collision with Yelich.

"He's ready," Jennings said of Hechavarria. "We're just trying to give him a little time. He could go today."

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Mat Latos (15-day DL, left knee inflammation) will have a bullpen session on Monday and, if all goes well, may make a rehab start on Thursday.

Jarred Cosart (15-day DL, vertigo) and Jose Fernandez (60-day DL, elbow) are scheduled to square off Monday in Jupiter in an extended spring game.

Henderson Alvarez (15-day DL, right shoulder inflammation) has not started throwing. Jennings said he is going through shoulder strengthening treatment.

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With his Citi Field-record 466-foot home run in Saturday’s ninth inning, Giancarlo Stanton supplanted Cliff Floyd at No. 10 on the Marlins’ all-time list for hits.

The home run was Stanton’s 662nd hit with the Marlins.

Luis Castillo is the all-time franchise leader with 1,273 hits with the Marlins. Just ahead of Stanton at No. 9: Juan Pierre with 682 hits.
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Dan Haren was used as a pinch-hitter Saturday, becoming the first Marlins pitcher to do so since Javier Vazquez in 2011. The Marlins are playing with a short bench, and Haren -- a career .207 hitter -- was the logical candidate among the team’s pitchers to swing the bat.

Haren has had nine plate appearances as a pinch-hitter over his career, going 1 for 4 with a pair of walks. Haren struck out swinging in Saturday’s pinch-at bat in the eighth.

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