With their All-Star shortstop listed as day-to-day with a left leg contusion, the visiting Marlins aim for their second straight victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
Since the Marlins acquired him from Boston prior to the 2006 season, Ramirez is Florida’s team leader in runs (565), hits (940), doubles (201), triples (24), and batting average (.312). He ranks second in that span in home runs (124), RBIs (391) and walks (328).
It didn’t initially appear that the former NL rookie of the year and 2009 batting champion would be adding to those totals any time soon, after getting helped off the field in the seventh inning of Friday’s 4-3 win following a take-out slide by Bill Hall(notes) at second base.
“It was scary because he ended up in a very bad position,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “He came in hard. I thought at first it was the ankle that he might have hyperextended it.”
Ramirez said he could undergo X-rays Saturday morning if he is not in too much pain.
While the Marlins (4-3) could miss Ramirez’s power in the 3-hole, the club expects 21-year-old right fielder Mike Stanton(notes) to return to the cleanup spot for the first time since opening day. Stanton has been sidelined due to a tight left hamstring.
“I feel confident he’ll be able to be on the field tomorrow,” Rodriguez told the Marlins’ official website.
The return of Stanton, who hit 22 homers in 100 games last season as a rookie, should be a welcome sight for Javier Vazquez(notes) (0-1, 15.43 ERA), who looks for better results than in his Marlins debut.
The 34-year-old right-hander walked five and allowed seven runs - four earned - and six hits over 2 1-3 innings of Sunday’s 9-2 loss to the New York Mets.
It was Vazquez’s shortest start since going two innings Aug. 14, 2005.
“His second outing should be better,” Rodriguez said.
Right-hander Bud Norris(notes) (0-1, 11.25) will oppose Vazquez as the Astros (1-6) again find themselves looking to climb out of an early-season hole. Houston opened 1-6 in 2009, and lost its first eight games last year, which included an 0-6 start at home.
Norris gave up four first-inning runs in Sunday’s 7-3 loss at Philadelphia.
“He’s strong as a bull and threw the ball well, but the problem was he felt so strong he tried to overpower guys,” manager Brad Mills(notes) said of Norris, who struck out seven and allowed five runs and six hits in four innings.
Norris might fare better at home, where he went 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his last seven starts last season.
He is 1-1 with a 6.89 ERA in three career starts against Florida.
Marlins catcher John Baker(notes), 3 for 6 lifetime versus Norris, should be back in the lineup Saturday after backup Brett Hayes(notes) made a successful first start of the season Friday, going 2 for 4 and throwing out Jason Bourgeois(notes) trying to steal second to end the game.
Astros left fielder Carlos Lee(notes) was shaken up Friday after running into the wall on a first-inning fly ball from Chris Coghlan(notes), but he stayed in the game. Lee is 4 for 15 with three homers off Vazquez.