MIAMI -- For Donnie Murphy, it feels like 2010 all over again.That's a good sign, because Murphy is completely healthy, and giving the type performance off the bench he did when he joined the Marlins two years ago. With second baseman Omar Infante resting a strained left groin on Thursday, Murphy is getting the nod at second. In Wednesday's 9-1 win over the Cubs, the veteran utility player belted a two-run homer, legged out a double on a heads-up play, and made a couple of nice plays in the field. "You create confidence," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "To have the type of game he had was awesome. It's good for him, too, creates confidence. It's not easy coming off the bench." Providing a spark off the bench is nothing new for Murphy, but it's been a while since he's been fully healthy. In September 2010, he dislocated his left wrist, requiring surgery. Although he was the Marlins' Opening Day third baseman in 2011, his wrist was never at full strength and he spent much of the season on the disabled list. "It's nice showing up to the park every day, not trying to figure out, 'Does it feel good today, or does it not feel good today?'" Murphy said. "Now I know that I can go to the park feeling 100 percent healthy, knowing that my wrist has no limitations on it." In 2010, Murphy appeared in 29 games and batted .318. A year ago, the 29-year-old struggled, batting .185 in 36 games. Guillen plans on using his bench heavily, and he understands the difficulty of making an impact with limited playing time. "I don't expect a lot from them, because it's not easy," Guillen said. "But when those guys contribute, the way he did [Wednesday], defensively, baserunning, at bat. That's something you're not going to see every day. But you appreciate that."
Hanley moving up Marlins' home run list
MIAMI -- Right now, Hanley Ramirez is in hot pursuit of some major Marlins records.With his two-run blast on Wednesday night against the Cubs, the Miami third baseman tied Miguel Cabrera for third place on the team's all-time home run list. With 138, Ramirez is closing in on Mike Lowell's 143 for second place. Dan Uggla holds the club mark with 154. In time, manager Ozzie Guillen believes Ramirez will go from being the hunter to the hunted. "This kid is a pure athlete," Guillen said. "In 2009, he was the best hitter in the game. Now, he's getting back there. I don't worry about him breaking records. Who is going to break his records? This kid has got a chance to put up a lot of numbers." Ramirez has been sizzling hot of late. His crushed shot on Wednesday gave him three straight games with a homer. The club record is four games, set six times, with Giancarlo Stanton doing it last -- Aug. 14-17, 2011. "I think Hanley wants to be good again," Guillen said. "He wants to be what he was. There was no doubt in my mind, he wants to do it." In 2009, Ramirez won the National League batting title. When he's at his best, he is capable of producing in a number of ways. He's a career .300-plus hitter, and he has power and speed. "When he was good, he may have been one of the top hitters I've seen," Guillen said. "Now, he's getting close to being back there." Does Ramirez compare to Cabrera? "They are two different types of hitters," Guillen said. "Miggie is on another level. This guy [Ramirez] has a lot of abilities, and he has so much talent." Guillen notes that Ramirez has more power than he thought. "Yes. No doubt," Guillen said. "I see the ball jump off this kid's bat. ... When you hear the sound of the ball coming off his bat, it's amazing how the ball travels when he makes contact."
Marlins are loaded with All-Star contenders
MIAMI -- There is plenty of star power in the Marlins' everyday lineup.Beginning on Friday, fans will have a chance to vote for them when Major League Baseball launches its All-Star Game balloting online at MLB.com and marlins.com. The rebranded Miami Marlins have been one of the most publicized teams in the league. They've got an upgraded roster, and they're playing in the trendy new Marlins Park. Five of Miami's eight regulars have been to at least one All-Star Game -- Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, John Buck, Gaby Sanchez and Omar Infante. There are no surprises for the Marlins on the ballot. Fans can cast votes for Buck (catcher), Sanchez (first base), Infante (second base), Ramirez (third base) and Reyes (shortstop). Also on the ballot are outfielders Logan Morrison, Emilio Bonifacio and Giancarlo Stanton. A year ago, Sanchez was the lone Marlins player selected to the All-Star Game. Reyes was a four-time All-Star with the Mets, and Ramirez was a three-time starting shortstop for the National League. This is Ramirez's first season on the ballot as a third baseman. The All-Star Game is set for July 10 at Kansas City.
Miami keeping a close eye on Infante, LoMo
MIAMI -- Best-case scenario, Omar Infante will be back in the Marlins' starting lineup either on Friday or sometime during the weekend series at Washington.But manager Ozzie Guillen is in no hurry to rush his second baseman back. Infante sat out Wednesday and Thursday against the Cubs due to a strained left groin. There is a concern the problem may linger. "I worry about those injuries," Guillen said. "That little muscle there, that can be very aggravating. Obviously, you're not going to feel 100 percent in a few days. You've got to stay on top of that." Until Guillen is convinced Infante is good to go, the Marlins will play Donnie Murphy. "He's got to give me the right answer for me to play him," Guillen said of Infante. "I'm not in a hurry to play him. Obviously, you want him in the game. If that is not the right answer, we'll keep playing Murphy." The team also is monitoring left fielder Logan Morrison, who had surgery on his right knee in the offseason. Morrison isn't expected to play on Friday in Washington. Part of the reason is because the Nationals are going with left-hander Ross Detwiler. Austin Kearns likely will play left field. "We're going to keep monitoring those guys," Guillen said. "I'm not going to overuse them. I like our bench. Let our bench go out there and do their job. I have a lot of confidence in them, and I think they can do the job, too."
Marlins prospect suspended 50 games
MIAMI -- Double-A Jacksonville (Marlins) infielder Jaime Ortiz has been suspended for 50 games for being in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.The suspension, effective immediately, was announced on Thursday after it was revealed that Ortiz tested positive for metabolites of stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance. Ortiz is now on Jacksonville's restricted list. The 23-year-old first baseman has appeared in 14 games this year, and he's batting .188 with one home run and four RBIs. A native of Puerto Rico, Ortiz is a left-handed-hitting and throwing first baseman who was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.