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The Marlins aren't going to swing for the fence

Ot at least, that is the plan.

It's likely the Marlins won't approach last season's club-record 201 homers. That doesn't mean they need to reinvent the offense, but manager Fredi Gonzalez and hitting coach Jim Presley would like to see some fine tuning.

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"I hate living and dying by the three-run home run," Presley said.

As prolific as it was, the offense on most nights had a major flaw: it was all or nothing.

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"We don't want that," Presley said. "We want to score other ways, too. Our ballpark is not conducive to fly ball home runs. Left-handers have to crush that ball to get it out of there."

The Marlins don't want Dan Uggla or Mike Jacobs or Josh Willingham to become slap hitters. Last season in the NL, only the Reds had as many players with 15 or more homers as the Marlins (seven), who should have no less than five in 2008.

That's plenty. Seven of nine NL teams with winning records had five 15-homer players or less.

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Added Presley: "With the type of players they are, we're going to have some power numbers, but I want to make sure we address the issue of with runners in scoring position, we drive them in with two outs. With two strikes, we put the ball in play and try to cut down and get more base runners and score more runs that way."

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Fredi Gonzalez is open to more stealing and hitting and running if need be, but he hopes adding a touch more finesse to the brutishness will produce enough runs.

"We need to do a better job getting those runs in from third base with less than two outs," he said.

"There's a ton of them out there. Man on third, one out and they're giving you a run with the defense playing back. We addressed that last year, and we're going to keep hammering that point."

That is, assuming the manager and the hitting coach can get the idea across to them.  If they do, the Marlins hitters won't be coming out of their shoes when faced with a two strike count next year.  The idea is cut down on strikeouts and putting the ball into play.

This is an old school idea, and one I happen to favor.  Make the defense have to work for an out.  When a hitter has two strikes, or sometimes less, contact is the most important thing.

The hard part will be convincing the players that it is in the best interest of the team for them to make adjustments.  Let's face it, most of them made it to the big leagues trying to hit the ball as hard as humanely possible.