8/20/2013 7:56 P.M. ET
Solano a steady presence for Marlins at No. 2 spot
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- The Marlins appear to have found their answer for who bats second.
Donovan Solano has heated up, going 7-for-15 on the homestand entering Tuesday.
The top of the order now has Christian Yelich leading off, followed by Solano, Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison.
"We've spent a lot of time all year trying to find that guy who can hit up there in front of Stanton," manager Mike Redmond said. "A guy who can make contact and get on base."
The Marlins have tried just about everyone. Ed Lucas Adeiny Hechavarria and Jake Marisnick each have had their chances.
Solano has raised his season average to .273 with two homers and 24 RBIs. He's driven in 18 runs over his last 23 games. For the season, the Miami second baseman has taken off while batting second. In 81 at-bats there, he's hitting .364 with a .395 on-base percentage.
"I feel more comfortable," Solano said. "I feel my approach has come back. My mind and my body, too. I feel more healthy and happier, too."
Like so many on the Marlins, Solano has had his ups and downs. He went on the disabled list in May with a strained left intercostal muscle. When he was healthy, he was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
Now, he's been one of Miami's steadiest hitters. He also has the benefit of batting in front of Stanton, one of the most feared sluggers in the game.
"They don't want to put me on base and face Stanton," Solano said. "They want to throw strikes and get me out."
Marlins trying to extend Fernandez's season
MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez may pitch deeper into September than originally anticipated.
The Marlins are exploring ways to get their rookie sensation to pitch later into the final month without exceeding their self-imposed 170-innings maximum.
"We're working on where we could push him back a few days, and see if we can extend him," manager Mike Redmond said. "We're trying to figure out how we can extend him as deep into September as we can."
Quite simply, Fernandez has pitched at such a high level, he is making it difficult for the organization to determine exactly when to shut him down. After striking out eight in six innings on Monday night in Miami's 6-2 win over the Dodgers, Fernandez's innings total has reached 145 2/3.
Fernandez is gaining steam in the National League Rookie of the Year Award race, and he's garnering more attention. He's also inspiring an upstart Miami squad. Also working in Fernandez's favor is he's showing no signs of slowing down.
"This is not an easy decision. He's pitched so well," Redmond said. "I think we all hoped he would have this much success, but I don't think any of us thought that he would pitch as deep into games as he has, which is great. Believe me, that is pressure on us that's good pressure."
If Fernandez stays pitching every fifth game, he would reach around 170 innings on Sept. 4 at the Chicago Cubs. Now, it appears the rookie will pitch close to the middle of September. The club also is seeing if there is any wiggle room to their innings' limit.
"We've got to figure it out exactly," Redmond said. "Is it 172, is it 170? Everybody knows where this kid is at. We've got to figure out where he is, and see how he pitches from game to game."
With a young staff, the Marlins also discussed internally the possibility of a six-man rotation. However, that is unlikely, Redmond said. One alternative is having Fernandez skip a start. He's scheduled to start on Saturday against the Rockies.
With a 9-5 record, 2.41 ERA and 157 strikeouts, Fernandez is a front-runner along with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Since June 1, Fernandez has the best ERA (1.64) of any starting pitcher in the Majors.
"We'll figure it out," Redmond said. "We set the limit to protect him. It's in his best interest. I know he understands that, whether he likes that or not, he understands that. When that day comes, it comes."
Marlins embrace taking on tough teams like LA
MIAMI -- Postseason contenders like the Dodgers see playing the Marlins as an opportunity to collect some easy wins. Miami, after all, is in last place and is filled with many young, inexperienced players.
To the Marlins, taking on teams like the Dodgers is a test.
"When you're in a situation like us, it is always good to face good teams," manager Mike Redmond said. "We feel like, on any given night, we can beat anyone."
The Marlins showed that on Monday night, cooling off the Dodgers, a team that has won 42 of its last 52.
"When you play good teams, playoff-caliber teams, it tests you," Redmond said. "It tests the players to see, 'Where am I at?' For all of us, it's a barometer for where our team is and where we need to go to win ballgames.
"I don't think these guys get fazed by much after all we've been through. It's amazing. It's a great trait."
• Placido Polanco, on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion, remains at home and not with the team. Rest is recommended. The club isn't sure when the veteran will return to the lineup.
• Chris Coghlan, on the DL with right calf irritation and a back nerve ailment, continues his rehab assignment for Class A Jupiter. The hope is he will return to the roster in early September.