Notebook: Marlins giving some regulars rest Saturday
MAY 03, 2014 6:08p ET
MIAMI -- Earlier in the week, Miami Marlins manager Mike Redmond talked about getting a few regulars a day off during the current 20-game stretch. On its fifth day, Redmond made a few moves to do so.
Jeff Baker, who hasn't played since Tuesday with flu-like symptoms, started Saturday at second base and hit seventh in the order.
Reed Johnson, who has reached base in four of his past five at-bats (all as a pinch-hitter), started for the fourth time this season in left and batted leadoff for lefty Christian Yelich.
"The more you face a pitcher, whether you have success or don't, it's still a comfort level of getting to know his release point," Baker said. "It's always a benefit. At the same time, good pitching beats good hitting. If he's on that day, it doesn't matter if you've faced him 100 times."
Redmond gave catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia a game off so he can start Sunday's series finale.
Jeff Mathis starts for the first time since April 23. Redmond plans on giving center fielder Marcell Ozuna a game off soon and eyes Wednesday's getaway contest as Giancarlo Stanton's turn. That pair has played in all 29 games.
"Reed's been swinging the bat well," Redmond said. "The more at-bats we can get the bench guys, the better off we're going to be not only now but for down the road. We want to keep guys as fresh as we can."
SLOW DOWN THE RUN
If the first game of the series was any indication, Miami will need to minimize the damage Los Angeles is able to do on the basepaths.
Yasiel Puig stole two bases, while major-league leader Dee Gordon collected his 16th steal of the season in the eighth inning. The Dodgers lead the majors with 34 steals. Nine players have stolen at least one.
"They've got plenty of weapons over there," Redmond said. "I think you saw that last night they can put runs on the board. A couple of those guys you've got to keep off the bases. A single turns into a double quick."
Mathis has thrown out one of six base stealers this season. Last year, he threw out 33 percent of runners.
While in the American League, former Rays outfielder Carl Crawford used to give Mathis trouble. Although Crawford doesn't run as much as he used to because of injuries, he already has four in 2014. Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez have added six between them.
"The pitchers control those guys," Mathis said. "Tommy (Koehler) did a really good job yesterday of slowing those guys down, changing his looks, peeking over. Giving Salty a chance.
"You've just got to do what we can -- (Jacob) Turner make his pitches, be quicker to the plate or be right in that area that it gives me a chance."
Rafael Furcal exited in the bottom of the fourth inning of Friday night's rehab assignment after re-aggravating his groin.
Furcal, who is on the 15-day disabled list, had gone 1 for 2 with Double-A Jacksonville. He is listed as day-to-day and was not in Saturday's lineup.
The 35-year-old had a setback last weekend that cut short his rehab stint when he strained his groin. He had been on the DL with a right hamstring strain.
"It's disappointing. It seems like it's been a challenge for him to get his legs under him," Redmond said. "I felt like we were getting close. It's too bad. I'm sure he's really disappointed because I know in talking to him he was excited to come back and help us out. We've got to get him healthy."
During Friday's batting practice, the Marlins dodged a fluke injury when strength and conditioning coach Ty Hill and ace Jose Fernandez collided and fell to the ground.
Apparently a worker in the Clevelander was throwing back home run balls. One went over Hill's head and as he backed up to catch it and ran into Fernandez as he did sprints.
Fernandez has a small bruise on his left shoulder but said he feels fine.
"No problem," Fernandez said. "I'm all fine and he's all fine. Thank God."
-- Derek Dietrich is available to play Saturday after getting hit on the foot by a Jose Dominguez fastball during the seventh inning of Friday's game.
Redmond teased the second baseman as he checked on him by saying, "Don't make me take you out of this game in front of all those people" to which Dietrich responded with "No way, I'm good."
-- Closer Steve Cishek is available should a save situation arise despite tossing 41 pitches over the past two games.