MIAMI GARDENS Coming off a disastrous home stand that has seen them lose ground to the Phillies, the Marlins head to Philadelphia Tuesday hoping to keep the division leaders within striking distance.
"We know that Philly is tough and that they are in first place in our division. We have to go out there and win those ball games," first baseman Gaby Sanchez said.
Complicating the situation for the Marlins is that with Josh Johnson still on the disabled list they have to call up a pitcher from the minors to start the first game of Wednesday's double-header.
Ramirez returns: Hanley Ramirez worked out with the Marlins Monday, his final day on the 15-day disabled list.
Ramirez will return to the lineup Tuesday in Philadelphia, and manager Edwin Rodriguez thinks that will be a big boost for his team.
"Hanley is coming back that that is going to be a huge help," Rodriguez said. "It is going to let the young guys relax a little bit at the plate."
Ramirez, who has been out with inflammation in his back, is in a season-long slump and is hitting .210, which is why Rodriguez said Ramirez will be in the leadoff spot when he returns to the lineup.
Chris Coghlan was moved to the eight spot in Monday's game, and will hit second or eight from now on, Rodriguez said.
"In the long run, Coghlan should be our leadoff guy, and Hanley should be our third hole hitter. But that is wishful thinking. Here we are in reality and they are struggling and we have to make a move," Rodriguez said.
Pushed back: Josh Johnson has yet to throw in the bullpen, and with each passing day, his return to the lineup keeps moving back.
"July for sure," Rodriguez said about the earliest Johnson could return.
Johnson's last appearance was May 16, and he has been sidelined since then with shoulder inflammation.
Since Johnson will need a couple bullpen sessions, followed by rehab starts, Rodriguez said the first week of July would be the earliest timetable for his return.
"He hasn't been on the mound yet, so that means it will take a while," Rodriguez said.
Nunez ready: Leo Nunez, whose last appearance was June 5, has gotten over back stiffness and will be available Tuesday, Rodriguez said.
Reliever Clay Hensley, who went on the disabled list June 3 with a right shoulder sprain, said he will throw for the first time Tuesday.
"In my mind, first week of July," Hensley said on when he hopes to return.
Theories on the problem: The Marlins have been getting runners on base during the current slump, but they have not been getting them home.
The consensus is that they are pressing too much, going after pitches out of the strike zone.
"We start chasing pitches that we typically take. We don't let the pitcher make his mistake, which is what we do when there are no guys on," Sanchez said.
Sanchez said the hitters have "step back and relax, just go up there and hit."
Chris Coghlan had a similar take, expressed in a different way.
"Sometimes we get in our own way and if could just be maybe a little stupider and just not so analytical we could do better," Coghlan said.