LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Marcell Ozuna shows a little patience, he has a chance to drive the ball a long way. He did so in the third inning of the Marlins' 6-5 loss to the Braves on Friday at Champion Stadium.Ozuna crushed a home run off Matt Wisler
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Marcell Ozuna shows a little patience, he has a chance to drive the ball a long way. He did so in the third inning of the Marlins' 6-5 loss to the Braves on Friday at Champion Stadium.
Ozuna crushed a home run off Matt Wisler that traveled over the high scoreboard in left-center field. The blast was another reminder of the untapped potential the 25-year-old outfielder possesses.
"It's there. He has power," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's just a matter of him getting his swing right. He's been swinging the bat good."
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Ozuna has been one of the bright spots in Spring Training for the Marlins since the day camp opened. Working closely with hitting coaches Barry Bonds and Frank Menechino, Ozuna has been simplifying his stance and being less anxious at the plate.
"Patience," Ozuna said. "A year ago, I was rushing. When I rush, I get a ground ball. Then, when I'd get a base hit, and then I'd be rushing. I'd get under the ball. I'd swing at every pitch."
Thus far, Ozuna is much more composed and relaxed. The results have been showing in Spring Training, when even his outs are often hard-hit balls.
Ozuna is batting .333 (8-for-24) in Grapefruit League play with three doubles and two homers.
The Marlins are counting heavily on Ozuna to be a run producer. He has been batting second in the lineup, behind Dee Gordon and in front of Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton.
After a down 2015 when he hit 10 homers and drove in 44 runs, the Marlins are hopeful he can more resemble the player who connected for 23 home runs while driving in 85 in 2014.
"When he's swinging the bat good, he's going to make good contact," Mattingly said. "He's in a good place. He probably wouldn't mind starting the year right away. A few other guys would probably like a few more at-bats before we get there."
What Bonds is instilling in Ozuna is a plan which, among other things, includes looking for pitches in different parts of the strike zone.
"I'm listening to Barry," Ozuna said. "[They're] the little things. After an at-bat, I listen to him on everything I'm doing wrong, and everything I'm doing good. He's helping me a lot."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.