PHILADELPHIA -- An expected strength has been a weakness for the Marlins this season.
Heading into the year, the club anticipated having a solid defense. But blunders in the field have repeatedly happened. The Marlins had committed 23 errors entering Saturday, tied with the Cubs for the second most in the National League. The Nationals had made 24 errors.
"Coming out of Spring Training, we thought one of our strengths would be our defense," manager Mike Redmond said. "For whatever reason, we haven't played defense the way we're capable of. It seems like we're making errors and mistakes on routine plays. It's not like some of them are on tough plays."
With an inexperienced squad, mistakes are going to happen. Because the team is struggling at the plate, the Marlins have not been able to overcome misplays.
"Whether that is a lack of concentration in games, I don't know," Redmond said. "We don't have the offense to overcome these mistakes. We have to be better. We have to do a better job of picking up that ball and getting outs."
Solano latest Marlin to miss game with injury
PHILADELPHIA -- Aches and pains continue to pile up for the Marlins.
Now, they could be without second baseman Donovan Solano for at least a few days.
Solano, who had started all 30 of Miami's games, was scratched about an hour before the first pitch on Saturday night due to tightness on his left side. It is believed to be an oblique ailment. He will be further evaluated, and a disabled list stint is possible.
"When I was in the cage, I felt something in my side," Solano said. "Something to the oblique. I saw the doctor before the game. He said it was no big deal. It's not too bad. We'll see tomorrow if it is worse or if it gets better."
If Solano does wind up on the DL, Double-A Jacksonville second baseman Derek Dietrich is a candidate to be promoted. But Dietrich, batting .296 for the Suns with four homers and 16 RBIs, is not currently on the 40-man roster.
Miami is at the maximum on its 40-man roster, and someone would have to be removed to make room for Dietrich. So the club will wait to see if Solano will only miss a few days, or if he needs to miss extended time.
Solano was initially slotted to lead off against Phillies lefty Cole Hamels on Saturday, but the Marlins got enough offense without him in a 2-0 win.
The Marlins had been planning on going with an entirely right-handed-hitting lineup, but those plans changed once Solano was removed. Chris Valaika replaced Solano at second base and atop the lineup, hitting a home run and making some nice defensive plays.
The Marlins' bench already was short because Austin Kearns was excused from the team, and he will be placed on the league's bereavement list for personal reasons. With Valaika and Greg Dobbs starting and Solano out, Miami didn't have a natural infielder available on the bench on Saturday. Outfielder Chris Coghlan, however, played second and third base in the Minor Leagues.
Miami will make a roster move before Sunday's series finale with the Phillies to replace Kearns.
Solano, who hit a home run on Friday night in a 4-1 loss, is batting .278 with two doubles and five RBIs.
Ozuna climbing up Marlins' batting order
PHILADELPHIA -- Less than a week in the big leagues, and Marcell Ozuna is making a case to move up in the order.
The 22-year-old right field prospect batted fifth on Saturday night against Philadelphia lefty Cole Hamels. In time, he could be at the top or the middle of the order.
"He's definitely got the tools to be a top-of-the-order guy, down the road," manager Mike Redmond said. "Right now, I'm very happy with his approaches at the plate. He's being selective. He's laying off some breaking balls."
Ideally, the Marlins were hopeful to keep Ozuna at Double-A Jacksonville for at least a couple of months. But out of necessity, he was called up on Tuesday after All-Star Giancarlo Stanton sustained a strained right hamstring.
Stanton could miss at least a month, and Ozuna has the defensive skills and throwing arm to stay in right field.
"In the first game that he played, they threw him like six or eight breaking balls in a row," Redmond said. "They were testing him right out of the chute. He laid off some and got some pitches to hit, and that's what we're looking for. If he can stick with the approach he's doing right now, he will be fine."
At Jacksonville, Ozuna was hitting second behind another touted prospect, Christian Yelich.
If he continues to make an impact at the plate, Ozuna could find himself at the top of the order.
"Ideally, I'd like to keep him down a little bit lower," Redmond said. "But at this point, we're going to move up guys who are hitting. We've got to have guys who are getting hits at the top of the order."
A year ago, Ozuna was with Class A Jupiter in the Florida State League. Redmond, who managed Dunedin then, faced Ozuna.
"I really liked him in the Minor Leagues," Redmond said. "I liked his attitude. I liked the way he played. He was having fun. That's the way you've got to play in the big leagues: Go out there like you've got nothing to lose. He's got nothing to lose. He was in Double-A. He's been given a chance to go out there and play and have fun. He's fun to watch. He's got the tools. He can run, he can hit, he can hit for power and he can throw. He's got all those tools. It's fun to see a kid go out there and have fun and let your talents take over."
• Kearns was excused from the team on Saturday for family reasons. The veteran will be placed on the bereavement list, meaning he will be out a minimum of three days and no more than seven days. He is not expected to be back for the series at San Diego, Monday-Wednesday.
• Logan Morrison, on the 60-day disabled list with a right knee injury, is eligible to be reinstated on May 30. But indications are he won't be back until around mid-June, at the earliest.
• Juan Pierre, batting .115 (3-for-26) against left-handed pitchers, was among the left-handed hitters not starting against Hamels on Saturday.