For the first time since his rookie season of 2006, Hanley Ramirez is hitting somewhere other than first or third.
The Marlins moved their slumping superstar from the third spot up to the two hole on Monday, with usual No. 2 hitter Omar Infante getting dropped to eighth .
According to the Miami Herald, manager Edwin Rodriguez weighed trying Ramirez as a No. 6 hitter instead, but that would have made John Buck the No. 8 hitter and Rodriguez didn’t want that.
Ramirez is hitting just .213/.302/.298 with two homers and 14 RBI in 141 at-bats this season. His career-worst OPS in five seasons is .833, but he’s at .600 right now.
While batting him one spot higher doesn’t necessarily seem like the best way to attack his slump, it does serve to get the disappointing Infante away from the top of the order. A year after hitting .321 for the Braves, the 2010 All-Star has a .230 average and a .268 OBP in 152 at-bats this season.
Logan Morrison, who returned last week after missing three weeks with a sprained foot, will take over for Ramirez in the three hole. He’s been Florida’s best hitter with a .328/.418/.642 line in 67 at-bats.
Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.
Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.
Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.
Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.
Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.
Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.
As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.
Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.