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Slumping Marisnick gets first breather since callup

PITTSBURGH -- Sometimes taking a step back is the best way to move forward.

Marlins rookie Jake Marisnick is going through that right now.

In a 1-for-13 slump over the last four games, the 22-year-old was given Thursday afternoon off.

It's the first time since Marisnick was promoted from Double-A on July 23 that he wasn't in the Marlins' starting lineup. Justin Ruggiano made the start in center for the series finale against the Pirates at PNC Park.

Ruggiano also is looking to get on track. He's mired in an 0-for-35 rut entering Thursday, which is a team record drought by a position player.

How does Marisnick handle the rough times?

"Just stay level-headed and not get too down on yourself and not panic," Marisnick said. "That can go a long way in getting yourself out of a funk. Staying on an even keel and getting your work in and taking care of everything every day. That's a big part of it."

Marisnick's batting average has dipped to .192 in 15 games and 52 at-bats.

"Pitchers definitely don't give in as much here," the center fielder said. "Every pitch, they're trying to do something with it. In the lower levels, guys on 2-0 will just try to get a fastball over. Here they're trying to hit a spot or mix you up."

Marisnick saw quickly that big league pitchers don't just groove a fastball in a fastball count. The first time he had a 2-0 count, he was treated to two straight changeups.

To get on track, Marisnick is working on his pitch recognition and keeping his swing short.

"I'm just a little long to the ball right now," he said. "I still have to fine-tune on some pitches, and make sure I'm getting the ball over the plate and not chasing pitches."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Read More: Miami Marlins, Justin Ruggiano, Jake Marisnick