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06/28/10 7:33 PM EST

Rodriguez trying to avoid distractions

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Uncertainty has surrounded the Marlins since Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed as manager on Wednesday.

As if losing a popular manager wasn't enough for a club that is trying to get back to .500 and into the playoff race, the team also dealt with the sudden resignation of Dave Collins as first-base and outfield coach.

Collins, who stepped down out of loyalty to Gonzalez, was widely respected in the clubhouse.

Interim manager Edwin Rodriguez said he spoke with the team on Monday afternoon about not letting the managerial search become a distraction. The Marlins enter their series with the Mets having lost four straight, including being swept by the Padres at Sun Life Stadium.

"They're human," Rodriguez said of the players. "Even if they try, it may have an effect. We had a meeting, and I did tell them that. In the last three games against San Diego, they've been going all out. There is a lot of energy on the field, a lot of effort. I know for a fact they've been trying hard."

Rodriguez remains a candidate for the job. He had a formal interview on Saturday, but he wasn't given any indication how long the process would take.

In the past day, the search has become confusing after reports surfaced that Bobby Valentine, long considered the front-runner, was no longer a candidate.

From the beginning, team owner Jeffrey Loria noted that the search was "a process." The door may not be completely shut on talks resuming with Valentine. On Monday, Marlins president David Samson was asked about Valentine.

"I've got nothing on that," Samson said.

Rodriguez has not been given any indication of whether he will be the interim manager for a few more days or the rest of the season.

"I had the interview on Saturday," Rodriguez said. "After that, they haven't given me any indication what is going on. They are keeping that poker face.

"I don't even want to speculate. I have a mental exercise where I try to block everything regarding the manager position, and to concentrate on the task, which is winning the series with the Mets and getting back into the race."

Rodriguez said he isn't reading the papers, because he doesn't want it on his mind. He also wants to be fair to the team.

"I don't want the players to think I'm more worried about getting the job than getting some wins," Rodriguez said. "I'm concerned about today's game. I'm concerned about the whole series. I'm concerned about my effort being concentrated on getting more wins."

Hiram Bithorn Stadium like home for Hanley

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- You have to go back to 2004 to find the last time the Marlins played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

For Hanley Ramirez, the ballpark is nothing new.

In 2009, the Marlins' All-Star shortstop played in Puerto Rico during the World Baseball Classic.

Ramirez was on the 2009 Dominican Republic team in the Classic, which played in San Juan. Puerto Rico also has a large Dominican community.

"It feels like home," Ramirez said. "There are a lot of Dominican people here."

Another change in San Juan is artificial turf. The only dirt on the diamond is around the bases, home plate and the pitcher's mound.

The surface is fast, and the games on turf can take their toll on players' legs.

Ramirez has dealt with sore hamstrings on occasion.

"My legs should be fine," he said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.