Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Live BP begins; who protects Stanton in lineup?

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- Whether Giancarlo Stanton bats third or fourth in the Marlins' order, the challenge manager Don Mattingly faces is making sure his most feared hitter is protected.

Mattingly already has an idea of how the lineup will look, but he is not ready just yet to say it publicly. One looming question is if this is the time to slot Christian Yelich into the No. 3 spot and move Stanton to cleanup? Yelich has hit mainly leadoff or second thus far in his young career.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Whether Giancarlo Stanton bats third or fourth in the Marlins' order, the challenge manager Don Mattingly faces is making sure his most feared hitter is protected.

Mattingly already has an idea of how the lineup will look, but he is not ready just yet to say it publicly. One looming question is if this is the time to slot Christian Yelich into the No. 3 spot and move Stanton to cleanup? Yelich has hit mainly leadoff or second thus far in his young career.

Video: Yelich on expectations, preparing for new season

As for Stanton, he has seen his most action batting third -- 335 games. In his career, the 26-year-old has batted cleanup in 114 games.

"You want to set the table for him, and you want to have protection behind," Mattingly said. "You want to have him pitched to. You want the guy behind him to be a guy the pitcher doesn't necessarily want to get to either."

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | More info

Justin Bour is a left-handed-hitting, middle-of-the-order threat. But Bour has yet to prove he can handle left-handed pitching. So the question then is, what happens if in the late innings, teams bring in situational lefties for Bour? If so, then does Miami pinch-hit Chris Johnson?

Or to avoid that scenario, does Mattingly opt for Martin Prado to bat behind Stanton? Prado is a strong situational hitter. He's not the power threat of Bour, but he is known for getting the job done.

"It's really going to be about a unit offensively," Mattingly said. "If we're going to be a good offensive club, we're going to have to be good up and down."

• Live batting practice is underway. On Thursday, the hitters stepped in against pitchers. But the hitters had the distraction of being under the turtle-shaped cage.

"It's takes a little bit of time to get your timing and get used to the speed," Mattingly said. "Then guys just make that adjustment. But the first few days, it feels like it's coming out of a cannon at you."

Among the more interesting matchups, Jose Fernandez faced Dee Gordon, and Giancarlo Stanton was in a group that faced Jose Urena and Andre Rienzo.

• As the club moves closer to game action, the rotation is getting most of the attention. The first three spots are set with Jose Fernandez, Wei-Yin Chen and Tom Koehler. The battles for the fourth and fifth spots are between Jarred Cosart, Edwin Jackson, David Phelps, Adam Conley and Justino Nicolino.

"Our biggest thing is making sure we get consistent pitching out of our rotation," Mattingly said. "I think we're going to have quality in our bullpen."

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.

Miami Marlins