Hanley could return to leadoff spot

MIAMI — Much of Hanley Ramirez’s early success in his career came when he was batting leadoff.

In fact, the 27-year-old Marlins’ shortstop has appeared in 400 games at the leadoff spot, the most of any spot since he became a big league regular in 2006. And he’s a .311 hitter when batting first in the order.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he is considering returning Ramirez to the leadoff spot when the shortstop comes off the disabled list.

Ramirez is on the DL with a left back strain, and he is eligible to be reinstated on Tuesday when the team is at Philadelphia.

Rodriguez said in the first game or so, he may not hit Ramirez first, just because his legs may not be ready for that. But the move could be made in the near future.

“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 on Friday is playing the first of likely two rehab assignment games with Class A Jupiter. He is in the lineup as the designated hitter. On Saturday, he should play the field, getting innings in at shortstop.

If that goes well, the Marlins plan on bringing Ramirez back to Miami where he will take batting practice with the team on Sunday and work out on Monday.

The hope is he will be ready to face the Phillies on Tuesday.

“He will work out on Monday and go with us to Philadelphia,” Rodriguez said.

Joe Frisaro

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