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Hanley Ramirez to leadoff

Hanley Ramirez is still expected to leadoff this season.

Hanley Ramirez has a comfort level batting in the leadoff spot, and Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez sees no reason to change things up.

On Wednesday, Gonzalez repeated what he's said for a few weeks now, that Ramirez will bat first in the Florida lineup rather than drop to the middle of the order.

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"If the season starts tomorrow, we will lead off with Hanley," Gonzalez said. "We are going to leave him in that position. I think he's comfortable, and he likes it there. We'll see. If we feel like we're struggling with that middle of the lineup, then we'll address it like we did last year."

With Ramirez leading off, the Marlins lineup likely will continue to slot Jeremy Hermida in the third spot. Dan Uggla hit second for most of the last year, but coming off a season where he belted 31 homers, the second baseman may drop to the middle of the order.

If 20-year-old center fielder Cameron Maybin wins a starting spot, he could be a candidate to bat either second or near the bottom of the order, depending on how he progresses in Spring Training.

Hanley leading off is not a problem, for now.  But eventually, one day, he is going to have to adjust his comfort level to batting further down in the order.  It is his destiny.

At this point in spring training (yeah, I know it's only been one game), I'm still doubtful Maybin will be or even should be the starting center fielder.  Will he be someday?  Without a doubt.  But I don't think the time is now.  Of course the young Mr. Maybin may prove otherwise which would be most excellent.  Just as long as he isn't rushed up to the majors in some trade justification thinking.

Even if Cameron wins the spot as center fielder outright, I suspect he will hit near the bottom of the order to start out.