SAN DIEGO -- Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez has driven in some key runs this season, including two without getting a hit on Thursday at San Francisco.But as Ramirez is closing in on 100 at-bats for the season, his batting average has dipped to .198 to go along with four home runs and 16 RBIs. "He's struggling," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "The thing about Hanley is, he's had a few big hits throughout the year. But he's struggling." Ramirez is dealing with adjustments to his swing. He tends to raise his left leg a bit high, which Guillen says makes it difficult to sustain consistency. He's also tended to elevate his hands a little higher, too. Guillen says Ramirez reminds him of Harold Baines. "To me, one of my best friends has Hanley's approach at the plate -- Harold Baines," Guillen said of his former White Sox teammate. "When Harold Baines got cold, he was freezing. That's hard [with the leg kick] because so many things have to go perfect. But when he got hot, he was going to burn. I lived that with Harold Baines." Guillen says when he sees his son, Ozney, who plays college ball, raise his leg, he tells him to stop. "When I see that with my little one, Ozney, hitting like that, I say, 'You've got to change that,'" Guillen said. "That will drive you crazy, because everything has to be perfect to get the high kick going." A former National League batting champion, Ramirez is striving to gain the consistency that made him a three-time All-Star. "I don't think Hanley realizes how good he can be," Guillen said. "This kid has unbelievable potential. I don't expect him to hit .350, but I don't expect him to hit .200 either."
Hayes earns more playing time
SAN DIEGO -- Performance is creating more playing time for Marlins catcher Brett Hayes.The 28-year-old from Pasadena, Calif., had his first three-hit game on Thursday in Miami's 3-2 win at the Giants. Hayes scored two runs and extended his hitting streak to five games. Hayes is 8-for-17 (.471) in the streak, and he raised his season average to .375, and that's why he is in the starting lineup on Friday night in the series opener against the Padres. "I'm not going to bench a guy who had three hits," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think he's swinging the bat good. I've got to take advantage of that." Of late, Hayes has gained more playing time, almost splitting the position with veteran John Buck. Hayes isn't getting too far ahead of himself when it comes to making starts behind the plate. "Buck's the guy," he said. "But if they call my name, for whatever reason, if they choose to do that, I'm going to do the best I can and go from there." Guillen noted that Buck is the regular catcher. "[Hayes] is taking advantage of that," Guillen said of his opportunities. "Is he going to play every day? I don't think so. It's too early to pull the plug on Buck." Hayes also is making an impact with his defense. In seven starts, he has thrown out three runners trying to steal, including Gregor Blanco in the first inning on Thursday at AT&T Park. And on Tuesday at San Francisco, Hayes threw out Ryan Theriot trying to swipe second in the seventh. Hayes had a couple of dozen family members and friends on hand at the series in San Francisco. A similar number is expected this weekend at San Diego. "He's playing good," Guillen said. "He's a tremendous defensive catcher. He calls the game very well. Great thrower. Now, with his at-bats, it's helping him more. Since I've been here, he's been doing a tremendous job."
Bell returns to San Diego to face former team
SAN DIEGO -- Surrounded by his new baseball family, Heath Bell is also spending time with his real family this weekend.Bell's wife and children live in San Diego. The Marlins' closer spent some time playing catch with his son, Reece, on Friday afternoon before the team took batting practice. Reece, wearing his own Marlins uniform, sat next to his father in the dugout for an interview with media from San Diego and Miami. "I'm on the Marlins now, and this is my team that I'm playing for, but it's great seeing my kids," said Bell, who signed with the Marlins in December after he spent five seasons with the Padres. "I haven't seen them for a long time. There are a bunch of guys I want to say hi to." The All-Star has had his struggles on the mound this year, converting three of six save chances. Manager Ozzie Guillen repeated on Friday that Bell is his closer and will get every opportunity to succeed in the role. Bell is appreciative of the support from the club, and he's also receiving plenty of inspiration from home. "First of all, I wanted to say hi to my kids and jump in my pool," Bell said. "I did that. Now, let's go beat the Padres." Asked about his decision to sign with Miami, Bell said it was a business move. "It's business; it's the way the game is," the veteran closer said. "Sometimes you've got to move on. I miss a lot of the guys and the coaches [in San Diego], but I've made a lot of new friends and coaches and players, too. I'm happy and excited that I get to play in Miami in a new stadium, and I'm a Marlin."
LoMo dealing with sore right knee
SAN DIEGO -- The chilly weather in San Francisco didn't help Logan Morrison's right knee.All season the Marlins have closely monitored the outfielder's knee, which required surgery last December. Morrison was not in the starting lineup in the series opener at San Diego on Friday night, and he likely will be given Saturday off as well, since the Padres are starting left-hander Clayton Richard. Morrison's knee acted up on Thursday in San Francisco. Morrison was removed in the seventh inning, but it was for defensive reasons. Bryan Petersen went to left field as part of a double-switch. "LoMo was a little sore yesterday," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We're going to continue doing what we're doing -- give him a couple of days. Tomorrow, it's going to help because they're throwing a left-handed pitcher. We're going by ear." Greg Dobbs started in left field and hit cleanup in place of Morrison on Friday night. The Marlins have been giving Morrison periodic days off, especially not starting him the day after traveling. "I don't want those guys playing hurt and getting worse," Guillen said.