04/25/2013 8:22 PM ET
Stanton finding his groove at the plate
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Regaining his swing has taken some time, but there are signs Giancarlo Stanton is breaking out of his slump.
The Marlins' All-Star right fielder is 4-for-12 in his last three games with three RBIs. On Thursday, Stanton hit a single in his first at-bat and had an RBI in his second as he grounded into a fielder's choice.
Stanton hadn't driven in a run until last Sunday at Cincinnati. And in Game 2 of a day/night doubleheader at Minnesota on Tuesday, the slugger was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including a sharp run-scoring single to right-center.
How does he feel at the plate lately?
"Less tense," said Stanton, who still hasn't homered.
Stanton is clearly primed for a breakout series, and on Thursday the Marlins opened a four-game set with the Cubs.
"I saw some better swings, and I saw some better patience," manager Mike Redmond said of Stanton's approach on the road. "I think everybody thinks it's just going to happen overnight. It's going to take some time."
The Marlins had a scare in Game 1 of the doubleheader. Stanton was plunked on the left wrist by a pitch, but he walked to first base with minimal discomfort.
In the second game, Stanton seemed like his old self, making an impact in the middle of the order.
"It looked like the Stanton we saw in Spring Training," Redmond said.
As Redmond shuffles order, Mahoney hits cleanup
MIAMI -- Still mixing and matching with the lineup, Marlins manager Mike Redmond went with Joe Mahoney in the cleanup spot on Thursday.
In Tuesday's day/night doubleheader at Minnesota, the left-handed hitting first baseman batted sixth in the first game and eighth in the second.
On Thursday, in the series opener against the Cubs, Mahoney was slotted to provide immediate protection behind Giancarlo Stanton.
"We talked about going from eighth to the four-hole. Why not?" Redmond said. "He's a big, strong guy. He's got some pop. We'll get him in there and get him at-bats and see what he does. He's got a good swing. He plays good defense at first. He's a guy who needs to get some at-bats to see what he can do."
Formerly in the Orioles' system, Mahoney was claimed off waivers Nov. 30 after he batted .265 with 10 homers and 56 RBIs in Triple-A. The 26-year-old appeared in two big league games for Baltimore and was hitless in four at-bats.
On April 20 at Cincinnati, he collected his first MLB hit. In the doubleheader at Minnesota, he was 4-for-8 with a double and two RBIs.
The 6-foot-6, 245-pound player from Albany, N.Y., is ready to contribute anyway he can.
"First game I hit sixth, and the second game, I hit eighth," Mahoney said. "It's just wherever Red needs me. I know we're trying to find a good mix."
Mahoney opened the season on the disabled list due to an intercostal strain, so right now, his season is basically entering its second week.
"It's weird. It's like my first week of the season, because I'd been hurt," he said. "I'm going into my second week now. I'm starting to get in the grove of things."
Mahoney feels he is becoming a more patient hitter compared to a year ago.
"Staying within myself, that's something I preach a lot," he said. "I'm so big, when I get out of my swing, it's not pretty, and things don't happen. When I'm through it, and short, and try to stay up the middle, I definitely become a lot better hitter.
"I'm not waiting for that perfect pitch right down the middle. You don't get that pitch in the big leagues."
Hechavarria could return to Marlins in a week
MIAMI -- Barring any setbacks, Adeiny Hechavarria could be returning to the Marlins in a week.
The 24-year-old shortstop, placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 18 with a bruised right elbow, did some light infield work on Thursday prior to the Marlins-Cubs game at Marlins Park.
"Hech, he's going to take some ground balls and make some throws," manager Mike Redmond said. "The plan is for him to play some games [in Jupiter]."
During batting practice, Hechavarria fielded ground balls, but he refrained from throwing.
The club is hopeful that he will be reinstated on May 2 at Philadelphia, the first day he is eligible.
"If everything goes well, we're shooting for him to come off that day," Redmond said.
He has done some light throwing and is a day or two away from hitting.
Several other Marlins are well into their recovery from various injuries.
Henderson Alvarez, who opened the season on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, is throwing a 45-pitch simulated game on Saturday. The plan is for him to start throwing in Minor League games on May 2.
Alvarez could be ready to join the rotation by mid-May.
Nathan Eovaldi, also out with right shoulder inflammation, has started his long-toss progression. He was recently placed on the 60-day disabled list, so he won't be available until mid-June, at the earliest.
First baseman Casey Kotchman, on the DL since Apirl 5 with a strained left hamstring, is still at least a few weeks away.
Catcher Jeff Mathis, on the disabled list with a broken right collarbone, could be playing rehab assignment games as early as May 1.
First baseman Logan Morrison, on the disabled list with a right knee injury, could be playing in rehab assignment games on May 10.
Once all these players return, the club will more closely resemble what the Marlins expected at the start of Spring Training.
"We'll hopefully have the team we thought we'd start out with," Redmond said. "But, hey, that's all part of it. I know that's obviously a lot of guys. It is what it is. They're getting better, and hopefully we'll get them back out there on the field."
Miami claims lefty Below from Detroit
MIAMI -- Some left-handed pitching with big league experience is joining the Marlins' organization.
On Thursday, Miami claimed lefty Duane Below off waivers from the Tigers and optioned him to Triple-A New Orleans, where he will join the rotation.
Detroit designated Below on Wednesday to make roster room for Jose Valverde.
Below, 27, threw 46 1/3 innings in 27 games with one start for the Tigers last year.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was 1-2 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts at Triple-A this season. In 25 2/3 innings, he has 15 strikeouts and four walks.
Below spent parts of 2011-12 in the big leagues, logging a total of 75 1/3 innings with a 4.06 ERA.