Marlins look to Coghlan to provide spark

Updated: May 6, 2010, 6:26 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- Slumping Chris Coghlan replaced slumping Cameron Maybin at the top of the batting order Thursday night for the slumping Florida Marlins.

Coghlan went into the Marlins' game against the San Francisco Giants with a .180 batting average and no extra-base hits. His slugging percentage -- also .180 -- was by far the lowest of everyday players in the major leagues.

Maybin was batting .238 and was tied for second in the majors with 36 strikeouts. He struck out three times Wednesday when the Marlins lost their second game in a row to fall below .500.

"We're both better than what we've done," Coghlan said. "You've got to go out there and produce."

Coghlan and Maybin have shared time leading off this season and are batting a combined .203 in that spot with five RBIs.

"We're shaking some things up -- tinkering," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of the latest lineup change. He said Maybin and Coghlan are the only real options for the leadoff spot, and with a laugh he ruled out moving 2009 NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez back to the top of the order.

Ramirez was Florida's leadoff batter years ago before he was moved to the No. 3 spot so he would have a chance to drive in more runs.

Gonzalez has dropped Coghlan to the second spot and benched him occasionally, but the 2009 NL rookie of the year continues to struggle.

"His at-bats are getting a lot better," Gonzalez said. "He just needs to get a couple of broken-bat singles. When those things start falling in, watch out."

Maybin, mired in a 5-for-42 slump, was given the night off against Giants right-hander Matt Cain. Gonzalez estimated that the speedy Maybin's batting average would be 15 points higher if he could make more contact.

Florida hitters were tied for third in the NL in strikeouts.

"You want the ball being put in play a little more in general," Gonzalez said.

Coghlan went into Thursday night's game with 24 strikeouts, seven walks and an on-base percentage of .240. Last year he hit .321 with an on-base percentage of .390 and 46 extra-base hits.

He expects his slump to end soon.

"It's not something I'm scared of," he said. "You go through struggles, and just because it's in the beginning of the season, it gets magnified more. Obviously I believe in myself and the ability I've been blessed with."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press