7/23/2013 10:51 P.M. ET
Hechavarria takes off in July atop Marlins' lineup
By Ian McCue and Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
DENVER -- The month of July has been very kind to Adeiny Hechavarria.
Hitting at the top of Miami's lineup for the 10th time Tuesday, Hechavarria seems to have found his groove. Through 17 games this month, the speedy Marlins shortstop is hitting .418 and has driven in four runs.
"Early in the season, when he was struggling off, we were hitting him seventh or eighth, and it's tough to utilize a guy's speed when the pitcher's coming up behind him," manager Mike Redmond said. "So getting him out of that spot and getting him into the leadoff hitter, wherever we hit him ... it enables different parts of his game to come up."
Hechavarria showcased that speed when he dropped a bunt single down the third-base line Monday, his lone hit on a 1-for-4 night. He also has two stolen bases this month, and Redmond said Hechavarria's speed can be a critical factor in jump-starting a Marlins offense that just broke out of a 37-innings scoreless streak.
"It's a huge weapon, because he's not a guy who walks a lot," Redmond said. "So if you don't walk a lot, you got to figure out a way to get on base. If it's a bunt, you got to respect the bunt so it brings the infielders in and increases his ability to get hits, because with those guys coming in, they can't cover as much ground."
Pierre, Ruggiano lose time after prospects' callups
DENVER -- With two talented young outfielders called up from Double-A Jacksonville before Tuesday's game against the Rockies, Justin Ruggiano and Juan Pierre will likely see even less playing time.
Top prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick both started in their debuts. Yelich hit second and played left field, and Marisnick hitt sixth and played center field, filling two of the most common spots for Ruggiano and Pierre.
Pierre, a center fielder for most of his career, has mostly played left field for the Marlins and been a fairly steady presence in the lineup, playing in 72 games. Ruggiano has appeared in 83 games, primarily playing center field and occasionally filling in for Giancarlo Stanton in right.
As the Marlins continue to build for the future, manager Mike Redmond said Yelich and Marisnick will have consistent presences in the lineup. Redmond said he met with Pierre to talk about his future role with the team.
"We're bringing up these young guys up, they're going to play," Redmond said. "I think those guys understand that, JP understands his role and I know Ruggiano, too. But at the same time too, we'll still use those guys, and if a guy needs a break, [Ruggiano] can play can all those different positions and JP, we can utilize him off the bench and his speed."
In his first year back with the Marlins after being an essential piece of the 2003 World Series-winning squad, Pierre is hitting .243 with 32 runs scored and 18 stolen bases.
Ruggaino is in the midst of a troubling slump and has just four hits in his past 55 at-bats. He's hitting .202, but has shown some power, with 12 homers and 32 RBIs.
"There's still a value there for those guys," Redmond said. "Although it's definitely going to take a hit for them playing-time wise, in talking with them, I know they're going to be fine with that, they'll do whatever it takes to help this team."
Roster moves make room for Solano at second
DENVER -- When the Marlins sent second baseman Derek Dietrich to Double-A Jacksonville on Monday night, it opened the door for Donovan Solano to shine.
In his second Major League season, Solano got the start at second base Tuesday night and manager Mike Redmond said he will rotate between second and third in the Marlins' new-look lineup.
"He's going to get an opportunity to get extended playing time," Redmond said. "He's going to play second, probably play some third. We'll probably mix and match him and [Ed] Lucas on third and second. It's good to have that versatility, with Lucas being able to pay all those positions."
Lucas has primarily been a third baseman, making his 26th start there Tuesday night, and has eight starts at second.
Solano missed nearly all of May and June with a left side injury after hitting .263 with 25 hits in the season's opening month. Since returning on July 2, he has primarily been used as a pinch-hitter, but Redmond said he hopes to use the 25-year-old more consistently as a piece of his lineup.
"He needs to play and get extended at-bats," Redmond said. "When he went out and he went on the DL, he was probably our hottest hitter and we really haven't had a chance to get him back in the lineup and get him going. So hopefully he can get himself going and help to contribute to the club."
Optioned Ozuna set to see hand specialist in Miami
Before heading to Double-A Jacksonville, Marcell Ozuna first will see a hand specialist in Miami.
Ozuna, optioned by the Marlins to Double-A on Monday night, jammed his left thumb while making a diving catch in the sixth inning of Miami's 3-1 win against the Rockies at Coors Field. The 22-year-old robbed Michael Cuddyer of a hit in the sixth inning, but jammed his left thumb on the ground.
Ozuna will have his thumb checked on Wednesday morning. If he is cleared to play, he would then join the Suns. But should Ozuna go on the disabled list, it would be on the big league side, not the Minors.
Time spent on the DL would go toward his MLB service time, which could impact when he is eligible for arbitration.
Ozuna, who opened the season at Double-A, missed time in April with a broken left wrist. The outfielder jammed his wrist on the outfield fence in Spring Training while making a catch.
The Marlins initially called Ozuna up on the last day of April after Giancarlo Stanton went on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. In 70 games with the Marlins, Ozuna batted .265 with three home runs and 32 RBIs.
• The Marlins placed first baseman Casey Kotchman and pitcher Alex Sanabia on the 60-day disabled list Tuesday to open up room for Yelich and Marisnick.
Kotchman played in just six games and has been on the DL since June 10 due to a left oblique strain. Sanabia has not pitched since May 26 with a right groin injury.
The Marlins also designated infielder Chris Valaika immediately after activating him from the 60-day disabled list.
• Redmond said Marlins ace Jose Fernandez's season-long innings limit will likely be "closer to 170" than 150. Fernandez, who made his first start of the second half Tuesday night, threw 104 2/3 innings before the All-Star break.
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.