MIAMI -- Gaby Sanchez has been searching for consistency at the plate all season. On Tuesday, the first baseman found himself out of the Marlins' lineup.
Greg Dobbs got the start at first in favor of Sanchez in the Marlins' series finale against the Pirates, but don't expect the change to be a long-term one. Manager Ozzie Guillen said the switch isn't permanent, and that he just wanted to get Dobbs, the Majors' active leader in pinch-hits, some regular at-bats to keep him sharp.
"Just play him today, get him some at-bats, put some at-bats together and give Gaby a break," Guillen said. "Gaby's swinging the bat a little bit better now. The last couple of games he's been swinging the bat a little bit better."
Sanchez, a career .269 hitter entering the year, has struggled this season. He is hitting just .198 with a .244 on-base percentage in 32 games. Sanchez has particularly struggled this month, hitting just .184 with two RBIs in 11 games.
"It is crazy, just because I know what type of player I am and what type of hitter I am, but it happens, I guess," Sanchez said. "Everybody has to go through it at one time or another, and there's a lot of guys right now in the league that are going through the same type of situations."
While a handful of other normally successful players have had trouble producing at the plate this season -- like the Angels' Albert Pujols (.197 with one home run and 12 RBIs) -- only one everyday first baseman in the National League is faring worse at the plate than Sanchez: Ike Davis. The Mets' first baseman is hitting .168 with a .227 on-base percentage in 34 games entering Tuesday.
But Sanchez isn't letting his slow start weigh too heavily on him. The last two seasons he has gotten off to fast starts on offense, only to tail off down the stretch. In 2010, he hit .307 through the first three months of the season, but hit .202 in his final 30 games. Last season he was hitting .322 when the calendar turned to June, but had just a .219 average in August and September.
"It's like they say: It's not how you start, it's how you finish," Sanchez said. "Maybe this is a different year: Start off slow and finish strong."