Florida Marlins v Texas Rangers

Hanley Ramirez batting .385 since move to cleanup spot

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Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez showed up late to the clubhouse on interim manager Jack McKeon’s first day on the job. Thankfully, things have gone far better between coach and player since.

One of McKeon’s first acts as acting manager was giving Ramirez a consistent spot in the batting order. Under former skipper Edwin Rodriguez, Hanley would bat in a variety of spots — from leadoff, to second, to third, to fifth, and even sixth.

Ramirez is now the Marlins’ official cleanup man, and looking quite comfortable in the new role.

He finished 3-for-5 with a grand slam in Saturday’s defeat of the Rangers and has scored six runs in his past four starts. In 10 games since moving to the No. 4 spot in the lineup, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the 27-year-old shortstop is batting .385 with three home runs and 12 RBI.

Hanley is still sporting a weak .230/.319/.356 slash line in 271 total plate appearances, but he’s talented enough to right many of his early-season wrongs with a monstrous showing in the second half.

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.

The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, tying an NL record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16:  Adam Rosales #9 of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI single during the tenth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park on July 16, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.

The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.

As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.