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Ozuna batting second in first spring lineup

Yelich, Stanton to hit third and fourth, respectively, in Tuesday's exhibition
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- Most of the names are the same, but where they'll hit in the batting order is different in the Marlins' first exhibition game set for Tuesday afternoon against the University of Miami at Roger Dean Stadium.

Among the most-anticipated decisions manager Don Mattingly would make is who will bat second, third and fourth? Now we know the answers: Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton, respectively.

JUPITER, Fla. -- Most of the names are the same, but where they'll hit in the batting order is different in the Marlins' first exhibition game set for Tuesday afternoon against the University of Miami at Roger Dean Stadium.

Among the most-anticipated decisions manager Don Mattingly would make is who will bat second, third and fourth? Now we know the answers: Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton, respectively.

Prospect Jake Esch will be the starting pitcher for the 1:05 p.m. ET game, which launches the Marlins' Spring Training schedule.

"It's the first lineup of the year, you don't know if it's going to stay like that," Mattingly said. "It's just a matter of trying to use our personnel the best way to score runs."

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Mattingly's first batting card will be as follows: Dee Gordon (second base), Ozuna (center field), Yelich (left field), Stanton (right field), Justin Bour (first base), Martin Prado (third base), Ichiro Suzuki (designated hitter), J.T. Realmuto (catcher) and Adeiny Hechavarria (shortstop).

"It's a lot of the same guys as last year," Yelich said. "We weren't all really out there at the same time, for the most part, all doing well. I think it's going to be good. We have a lot of balance, a lot of depth. We can score runs in a lot of different ways. I think that's what's important in a good lineup. Most importantly, hopefully, we can all stay out there the whole year."

Injuries devastated the lineup in 2015. Stanton, for instance, played in just 74 games.

Mattingly said he is going with Ozuna in the second spot to increase the number of fastballs he may see if Gordon is on base.

"He hits the fastball pretty good," Mattingly said. "I'm counting on Dee getting on. They'd like to throw him out."

Ozuna looking to rebound in 2016

Ozuna has appeared in 21 games and has 93 plate appearances hitting second, with a slash line of .306/.355/.376.

"It reminds me of when I played low A, high A, Double-A," Ozuna said. "They put me in second behind Yelich [who then hit leadoff]. I feel comfortable to get more pitches to hit."

Yelich has hit mostly leadoff or second in his big league career. In the third spot, his slash line is .291/.363/.398. Most of Stanton's appearances have been batting third. In 335 games, his line is .266/.375/.544 with 89 homers and 220 RBIs.

Stanton has 114 games batting cleanup, posting a .274/.368/.529 with 25 homers and 71 RBIs.

"We've talked about the three-spot being a spot that comes up least with men on base," Mattingly said. "I think with our set of guys right now, we want to see what it looks like. I think Yelly, we put him in the spot to do both. He's a real good hitter. He gets on base."

Worth noting:

•Reliever A.J. Ramos, who is nursing a strained right calf, is progressing nicely. The right-hander threw a bullpen session on Monday, and he is doing supervised running.

"He's moving along," Mattingly said. "He's in a good spot."

• Another reliever dealing with a sore calf is non-roster invitee Craig Breslow, a left-hander who was with the Red Sox last year.

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, Marcell Ozuna, A.J. Ramos, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich