Hanley back in a familiar spot atop Marlins' lineup

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marlins logo.pngMarlins manager Fredi Gonzalez released his lineup for Sunday’s game against the Mets a few minutes ago, and something looks a little fishy:

SS Hanley Ramirez
LF Chris Coghlan
2B Dan Uggla
3B Jorge Cantu
C Ronny Paulino
RF Cody Ross
1B Gaby Sanchez
CF Cameron Maybin
P Ricky Nolasco

That’s right, 2009 National League batting champ Hanley Ramirez is batting leadoff against Mets starter Hisanori Takahashi.  It’s the first time he’s batted atop the Marlins’ order since September 27, 2008, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and manager Fredi Gonzalez is hoping that the temporary change will jump-start the Fish offense.  Ramirez is a .313 career hitter in the leadoff spot.  Of course, his numbers are pretty strong at every spot in the batting order.

The Mets will not commit to Matt Harvey making his next start

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Matt Harvey has had a bad and injury-filled couple of years. He hit spring training in decent physical shape, however, and there was much talk about a possible Harvey Renaissance. At times in February, March and in his first start in early April he looked alright too.

That has changed, however. Over his last three starts he has allowed 14 runs on 25 hits in 16 innings, with his latest stinker being last night’s six runs on eight hits outing against the Braves. The poor pitching has resulted in Mets manager Mickey Calloway not committing to Harvey taking his next turn in the rotation. Or, as Ken Davidoff reports in the Post, not commenting when asked if Harvey would, indeed, make his next start.

It’s bad enough when the manager will not make such a commitment, but the Mets pitching coach, Dave Eiland, made comments after the game suggesting the possibility of the Mets putting Harvey in the bullpen. The comments were not pointed, but this suggests his thinking, I’d assume:

While neither Callaway nor Eiland would tip his hand about Harvey’s immediate future, Eiland, who most recently worked for the Royals, smiled when a reporter asked him if he had ever switched a starter to the bullpen under duress. “Yeah, a guy by the name of Wade Davis,” he said. “It turned out pretty well for him.”

That’s a generous way of putting it and, for Harvey, such comments could soften the blow to his ego if, indeed, the club decides to move him to the bullpen. It’s not a demotion, he could claim, it’s the team giving him a chance to regain his past stardom in a different role!

However, whether it was because he was stinging from a poor performance or because he simply hates the idea, Harvey seemed to reject the possibility out of hand, saying, “I’m a starting pitcher. I’ve always been a starting pitcher. That’s my mindset.”

Looks like he’s either going to have to change his mindset or else he’s not going to have a place to pitch in New York for very much longer.