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Marlins beat, 9/23

September 24, 2010

Hanley out again, still considered day-to-day

MILWAUKEE — Hanley Ramirez was out of the lineup on Thursday for the fifth time in six games, and the Marlins’ shortstop may not return this season.

“From what I saw in the last game that he played, he said he felt worse than the day before,” said Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez. “That’s not a good sign. If that’s what’s going to happen, I’d rather not play him until I see any real improvement.

“If he’s going to get worse, it doesn’t make any sense to throw him out there.”

Ramirez has been sidelined due to inflammation in his left elbow. He missed four games before going 1-for-4 with a strikeout and a run scored in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Mets, and sat once again on Wednesday.

In his place, rookie Ozzie Martinez made his third start at shortstop on Thursday with Emilio Bonifacio also unavailable. Rodriguez said Ramirez continues to receive treatment on his elbow and may see some limited action on the basepaths.

“He’s available to pinch-run, but we’re not going to throw him out there while he’s in that condition,” said Rodriguez. “So far, he’s day-to-day.”

Bonifacio should return to Marlins on Saturday

MILWAUKEE — If everything goes according to plan, the job of Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez may get a little easier on Saturday, when he expects infielder Emilio Bonifacio to return.

Bonifacio, who has been sidelined with left hamstring tightness, ran and hit in the cage on Thursday. Everything went well, according to Rodriguez, but he did not expect Bonifacio back in the lineup for Friday’s game.

“Even if he’s OK tomorrow, I would keep him out of the lineup,” Rodriguez said. “I would count on him as a pinch-runner or pinch-hitter, just to make sure he’s fine. Saturday, I’m pretty sure he would be in there, if everything goes well.”

With Bonifacio unavailable, Rodriguez is without one of his most valuable and versatile options on the team.

Bonifacio provides his manager with the luxury of his ability to play all three outfield positions as well as second base, shortstop and third base.

“Having him and [being] unable to use him, it’s really tying my hands,” Rodriguez said. “He can play everywhere, he can do everything. It’s tough to manage without him, because you can count on him for everything.”

Martinez already a big star in Puerto Rico

MILWAUKEE — He made just his third Major League start on Thursday for the Marlins, but shortstop Ozzie Martinez is already a big star in Puerto Rico.

“Right now, he’s a hero in Puerto Rico,” said Marlins manager Edwin Martinez, who hails from Ponce, Puerto Rico. “He’s a nice story, and the country’s paying attention.

“He’s having so much fun. He brings so much energy to the field, it’s amazing. Everybody’s rooting for him.”

Martinez has drawn plenty of attention from the media in his home nation, including from sportscaster and writer Fufi Santori.

Recently, Santori wrote “Un Canto Para Ozzie Martinez,” and put together a video featuring himself singing the song.

“People really respect [Santori], so coming from him, it was really nice to see that,” Rodriguez said.

Injuries to the Marlins’ first two options at shortstop — Hanley Ramirez (left elbow) and Emilio Bonifacio (left hamstring) — have given Martinez the perfect opportunity to audition for a more permanent job in the Major Leagues.

According to his manager, Martinez has already displayed a number of qualities that bode well for his future success at the big league level.

“He’s fearless. He looks like he’s very confident that he belongs here,” Rodriguez said. “The way he’s been playing, the way he’s been taking every at-bat against very good pitching … he’s very, very close to making himself a big leaguer on a full-time basis.”

In three games with the Marlins entering Thursday, Martinez has batted .286, collecting two hits, two walks, a run scored and a strikeout. Martinez, who is better known for his defense than his offense, has looked even better so far in the field.

Asked if Martinez’s defense would be what kept him in the big leagues early on, Rodriguez offered his assessment of how he thought things would pan out in the near future.

“I picture him to start off as a utility guy — second, short, third base,” Rodriguez said. “Eventually, he will make himself an everyday player.”

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