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Marlins shifting with the times

PHILADELPHIA -- Infield shifts are trending in the big leagues, and the Marlins certainly have taken notice.

Last month, when the club was in Cleveland, the Indians employed a dramatic shift for Logan Morrison. The second baseman was positioned in short right field, while the shortstop was just on the first-base side of second. And the third baseman was stationed basically where the shortstop would normally play.

In Cleveland, the Marlins shifted for Travis Hafner.

The Marlins study hitting trends, and they have used some shifts. If the Phillies had Ryan Howard healthy right now, they'd be repositioning their infielders. They've done some mild shifts for Jimmy Rollins, when he is batting from the left side.

"If you have the information, you have to use it," said Miami bench coach Joey Cora, who works with the infielders.

For the Marlins to consider an infield shift, a batter's chart has to show that he pulls 80-85 percent of his ground balls. Some teams have lower percentage numbers, like 70-75 percent.

Cora noted that why would a team play the third baseman in his normal spot against a left-handed hitter who never taps a ground ball that way. Occasionally, a team will get burned by the shift. But the odds favor the shift unless a batter shows otherwise.

"When you've got percentages like that, those [15-pecent] hits are usually a broken bat or jam shot," Cora said. "Nothing you can do about that."

Early in the season, it is sometimes difficult to see trends, unless a player has had a track record for years.

"Now with guys with about 200 plate appearances, that's more than enough," Cora said of a sample size.

PHILADELPHIA -- Infield shifts are trending in the big leagues, and the Marlins certainly have taken notice.

Last month, when the club was in Cleveland, the Indians employed a dramatic shift for Logan Morrison. The second baseman was positioned in short right field, while the shortstop was just on the first-base side of second. And the third baseman was stationed basically where the shortstop would normally play.

In Cleveland, the Marlins shifted for Travis Hafner.

The Marlins study hitting trends, and they have used some shifts. If the Phillies had Ryan Howard healthy right now, they'd be repositioning their infielders. They've done some mild shifts for Jimmy Rollins, when he is batting from the left side.

"If you have the information, you have to use it," said Miami bench coach Joey Cora, who works with the infielders.

For the Marlins to consider an infield shift, a batter's chart has to show that he pulls 80-85 percent of his ground balls. Some teams have lower percentage numbers, like 70-75 percent.

Cora noted that why would a team play the third baseman in his normal spot against a left-handed hitter who never taps a ground ball that way. Occasionally, a team will get burned by the shift. But the odds favor the shift unless a batter shows otherwise.

"When you've got percentages like that, those [15-pecent] hits are usually a broken bat or jam shot," Cora said. "Nothing you can do about that."

Early in the season, it is sometimes difficult to see trends, unless a player has had a track record for years.

"Now with guys with about 200 plate appearances, that's more than enough," Cora said of a sample size.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.