NEW YORK (AP) - Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez shook up his batting order in an attempt to shake star shortstop Hanley Ramirez out of his prolonged slump.
It sure didn't work.
The three-time All-Star batted second for the first time since his rookie season of 2006 in the Marlins' 2-1, 11-inning win over the New York Mets on Monday night. Ramirez wound up going 0 for 6 and leaving seven runners on base, his average plummeting to .204 on the season.
"It's an important change," Rodriguez said before the game. "I've been thinking about it and I've been talking to Hanley about it, so I feel it's time to do it."
Ramirez had only two homers and 14 RBIs out of the third spot in the order. His woes had also spilled over to the basepaths, where the normally fleet-footed Ramirez had been caught stealing five times in 13 attempts.
Rodriguez said he thinks Ramirez will be fine batting second. Ramirez refused to discuss the shakeup or his recent struggles when approached at his locker before the game.
"I don't have no comment," he said.
Rodriguez said the move was done for several reasons, not just to give Ramirez a fresh spot in the order. He said that catcher John Buck had been swinging the bat well and wanted to move him up from eighth, and putting Ramirez in the second spot allows him to do that.
Buck moved up to seventh and Omar Infante slid from second down to eighth.
"I think it looks better, the lineup, all the way from one through eight," Rodriguez said.
The Marlins manager floated the idea of batting Ramirez in the lower half of the order by him, but he laughed and said his biggest star wasn't a fan of the idea.
Rodriguez said he isn't sure whether the change will be permanent - it will depend on how well the team performs. But he acknowledged it's a move he's been considering for a while, and made it clear the decision wasn't solely to help Ramirez out of his funk.
"I don't agree it's taking pressure off him," Rodriguez said. "I don't think he's feeling any pressure. It's just about making a change and seeing what happens."