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Ozuna impressing with prowess at the plate

Ozuna impressing with prowess at the plate

SAN DIEGO -- The modest hit streak may be over, but Marcell Ozuna's impressive first impression continues.

The 22-year-old, called up to replace injured Giancarlo Stanton in right field, is showing signs of becoming a quality middle-of-the-lineup big leaguer.

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"He's a natural hitter," Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez said. "He's got power. He's a strong kid."

Ozuna had hit safely in his first six big league games, which is tied for the second-longest streak by a player to begin his career with the Marlins. The string ended on Monday night at San Diego.

Alejandro De Aza set the club record by hitting in eight straight games in 2007.

In his first few games in the big leagues, Ozuna has already shown power, bat speed and patience at the plate.

"I saw him in Spring Training," Martinez said. "It's obvious he has all the tools. He has a quick bat, and obviously, he's a great defender and all that stuff. He has an idea of what he wants to do at the plate. He was a little bit over-aggressive, I'd say, in Spring Training.

"From the first day of Spring Training until today, he's made huge strides as far as really understanding every at-bat. He goes through the game plan. He knows what the pitcher has. He lays off on stuff that is out of the strike zone, which is very rare for young guys. He's been very impressive."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less