Ozuna picking it up at plate with job on the line

Ozuna picking it up at plate with job on the line

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- After an up and down Spring Training, Marcell Ozuna has once again put himself in position to win the Marlins' starting center-field job.

The overall Spring Training numbers may not reflect it, but Ozuna has had a better approach, and he has shown signs of why he is a touted young player.

Ozuna delivered the tie-breaking RBI double in a win over the Cardinals on Tuesday afternoon. He's also belted two home runs and five doubles while collecting six RBIs this spring.

However, he entered Wednesday batting .180 (9-for-50).

"Much better at-bats," manager Mike Redmond said. "Sometimes with young guys, Spring Training can be tough because you're working on stuff, too. Not only are guys competing and trying to win spots, they're also working on their games.

"They're trying to tighten up swings. Sometimes that takes a little bit to get going. But his at-bats are getting much better. You just want to continue to see him be aggressive at the plate. That's the biggest thing for me."

It is appearing likely that Jake Marisnick, who is refining his swing, will open the season at Triple-A New Orleans.

Marisnick is having a strong Spring Training, batting .442 (19-for-43) in 19 games.

On a team looking for power, Ozuna appears to add depth to the bottom of the order.

"I've been pleased with the progress he's made over the last week to 10 days," Redmond said. "This guy has the ability to drive in some runs and get some big hits. He's got a lot of power and he brings a lot of energy. We saw that last year, how much energy he brought to our lineup. We're going to need that."

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