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Hanley Ramirez could bat leadoff when he returns from the disabled list

Jun 10, 2011, 8:10 PM EDT

Florida Marlins v San Francisco Giants Getty Images

Hanley Ramirez began a minor league rehab assignment tonight with High-A Jupiter and could be back as soon as Tuesday against the Phillies. However, the more interesting news is where he might find himself in the lineup upon his return.

According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez is considering using him out of the leadoff spot again.

“Let’s see where he is at,” Rodriguez said. “I haven’t decided that yet. It could be first or it could be second.”

Asked directly if Rodriguez is thinking of batting Ramirez leadoff, the manager said: “Yes. Maybe not at first because we don’t know how his leg is going to hold up or his back.”

Ramirez was placed on the disabled list on May 30 with a strained left lower back, but has also dealt with pain in his upper left leg for most of the season. It would be unfair to count on him as a run producer right away, as he was batting just .210/.306/.309 with four home runs and 17 RBI before prior on the disabled list, but we probably can’t expect him to be the same dynamic leadoff hitter he used to be, either.

To be fair, Marlins’ leadoff hitters have combined to bat just .242/.311/.377 entering tonight’s action, so it wouldn’t take much for him to be an immediate upgrade.

  1. Old Gator - Jun 11, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    I don’t see it. It isn’t just a matter of batting average. If Hanley’s issues have really been rooted in physical problems – which, frankly, I doubt – and if his inexplicably short stint on the DL given the reported severity of his aches and pains has actually healed him enough to regain his focus and batting stroke, then why waste his power on the leadoff slot? He’s very strong so one assumes that if he regains his ability to put his bat solidly on the ball the power numbers will follow. If he hasn’t regained his stroke, he’s an albatross as a leadoff hitter anyway.

    Another angle: Hanley is fast. He’s a play-beater and a base stealer when he’s in form. Bat him first and, after the first inning, he come to the plate following the pitcher pretty often, and assuming the pitcher is going to be an out the vast majority of the time you take away a lot of the threat of Hanley bunting for a hit or even sacrificing a runner over with at least one out already on the books. It just doesn’t make sense to me to hamstring him that way.

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