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Yelich excelling as Marlins' leadoff man

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich takes full advantage of having Brett Butler, one of the top leadoff hitters in the game, around as a coach.

"It's something he did so well," Yelich said before Sunday's series finale with the San Francisco Giants. "He's helped me a lot. We've gone through the whole bunting thing."

Yelich, who hit in the No. 3 spot for the first time this year Sunday, said he normally hit first or second through high school (Westlake High, near Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and into the Minor Leagues.

Yelich hit third in 24 games (89 at-bats) last season, hitting .292 with a home run and six RBIs. He drove in one run per 14.8 at-bats, compared to his career output of driving in a run per 12.71 at-bats (21 in 267) leading off.

Yelich, named the Marlins Minor League Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012, received some rather loud advice from a teammate as he was heading to the cages for indoor batting practice: "Don't change, Yeli!"

Rick Eymer is a contributor to
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