Stanton's Classic departure creates open No. 3 hole

Brantly among Marlins to try hand at slugging spot in Miami batting order

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With Giancarlo Stanton about to be away for a few weeks for the World Baseball Classic, the Marlins will have plenty of candidates to bat third in the order.

None, of course, can match Stanton's production. You don't easily replace someone who belted 37 home runs a year ago.

But Spring Training is a time to offer opportunity.

On Saturday against the Mets at Tradition Field, Rob Brantly filled the No. 3 spot.

"You don't see too many catchers batting in the three-hole," Brantly noted.

In his Minor League career, the left-handed-hitting Brantly typically batted anywhere from third to sixth.

"You guys probably read more into the batting order than I do," manager Mike Redmond said. "I'm thinking more of getting the most at-bats I can get them. At the same time, too, you are looking to see how guys respond as you move them up and down in the order. There is an opportunity out there for somebody to hit behind Giancarlo. We will see who steps up and takes on that role."

For the next couple of weeks, Stanton will be away from Marlins' camp. The slugger will head to Arizona on Sunday to hook up with Team USA.

"Anytime a guy is out of the lineup, and new guys are in there, it creates opportunities to show what they can do," Brantly said. "But it's also Stanton. Especially with the way he's been swinging since he's been here.

"It's good for the young guys to get in there. They get to hit in some spots, in normal circumstances they wouldn't be able to hit in. Pitchers might approach them differently because they are higher in the order. It's a good test."