MIAMI -- Hanley Ramirez broke out of his slump -- batting in the cleanup spot, of all places. But did a scolding from one of his teammates help get him jump-started, too?
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Tuesday that outfielder Logan Morrison ripped into Ramirez Monday after the Florida Marlins' All-Star shortstop showed up less than a half-hour before the team was scheduled to stretch.
Sensing a pattern, Morrison reportedly blasted Ramirez in front of the team and told him his regular lateness could be an explanation for his struggles this season. Morrison, when approached by the Sun-Sentinel, declined comment.
Interim manager Jack McKeon held Ramirez out of the starting lineup Monday, saying he didn't like the way Ramirez ran in the Marlins' previous game. He made no mention of the reported clubhouse incident.
Tuesday was a different story for Ramirez, however. Against the Los Angeles Angels, batting fourth for the first time in his career, Ramirez went 2 for 4 -- his first multi-hit game since May 21 -- and helped the Marlins break an 11-game losing streak in a 5-2 win.
"Hanley's a potential No. 4 hitter," McKeon said. "We've all known that. We've just got to find a way to get him going. Now he's in the key spot and I think he'll respond. I had a nice chat with him today. He's in a great frame of mind."
Ramirez's reaction to being given the cleanup job by McKeon?
"Happy -- like a little kid when he sees candies," Ramirez said. "Obviously he knows what kind of player I am. I haven't showed it this year, but he believes in me, and I believe in myself."
The Marlins are desperate for offense in a month in which they've won two of 21 games. Ramirez went into Tuesday's game hitting .200, fourth-worst in the majors and far below his career average of .306. His slugging percentage of .295 was fifth-worst, and he had just four homers and 17 RBIs in 55 games.
Ramirez has divided his career evenly between hitting first and third. The 2009 NL batting champion figures moving into the cleanup spot might help him shake his slump because he likes batting with runners on base.
"Hitting fourth, you've got to concentrate," he said. "I've got a lot of things in my head. I've just got to go out there, see the ball and hit."
Ramirez said he has searched in vain all season to find his timing at the plate, and he conceded he's frustrated by his slump.
"As soon as I get home and see my kids and my wife, I concentrate on them," he said. "But you've got to think about it a little when you've got 24 guys waiting on you to turn it around."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.