Stanton thriving, so Ozzie keeps slugger in fifth spot

Stanton thriving, so Ozzie keeps slugger in fifth spot

Stanton thriving, so Ozzie keeps slugger in fifth spot
LOS ANGELES -- Since Giancarlo Stanton is on a roll, the Marlins don't want to mess around with a good thing.

Manager Ozzie Guillen remains committed to batting Stanton fifth, meaning he isn't guaranteed to bat in the first inning.

Certainly, Stanton has found a comfort zone in the fifth spot, where he entered Sunday hitting .323 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs in 33 games this season.

The 22-year-old homered off Dodgers starter Aaron Harang in the fourth inning on Sunday, giving him a shot in each game in the series, and eight in the 11-game trip. His eight homers are a Marlins record for a road trip.

Asked if he is considering moving Stanton to third or fourth, Guillen said: "No, because he feels comfortable there."

Ideally, Guillen doesn't want to shuffle the lineup on a regular basis. Part of the decision to keep Stanton fifth is because of Jose Reyes, who has heated up after moving from leadoff to third.

Reyes is hitting .322 since moving to third.

Carlos Lee continues to hit fourth, where he's been a steady run producer.

With 28 homers on the season, Stanton is one of the most powerful hitters in the game. He's also hitting his home runs in a lineup where he isn't receiving much protection.

"I don't want to start moving people around, changing the lineup," Guillen said. "Nobody in this lineup, nobody, can protect [Stanton]. Nobody."

Of course, if Stanton did move to the third spot, he would likely get more chances to hit.

"We think about it," Guillen said of a switch. "But I think Reyes is batting good in the third spot. Then we'd have to move Reyes to the second spot. And move around the lineup."

Stanton did miss substantial time in July because he underwent right knee surgery. And the team has given him some periodic days off.

That was another factor in keeping the slugger fifth.

"He missed [one] month and still has almost 30 home runs," Guillen said.