WASHINGTON -- With Emilio Bonifacio on the disabled list, the Marlins lose more than an energizing presence. They're without their leadoff hitter.
Since manager Ozzie Guillen intends to keep Jose Reyes batting third, the leadoff spot may change on a daily basis.
But if given the opportunity, Bryan Petersen welcomes the challenge.
Petersen enjoyed a good night on Saturday, going 3-for-5 with a run scored in the Marlins' 10-7 loss to the Nationals.
"It's a role that I embrace," Petersen said. "I know that with Boni down, it's big shoes to fill. But I've done it in the past.
"I've led off multiple seasons down in the Minors, so it's not like it's a new thing for me. I'm going to take at-bats to the best of my ability, see some pitches. Set the table a little bit, so the guys behind me can drive me in and stuff."
Petersen has split time this season at the Major League and Triple-A levels.
The left-handed-hitting outfielder has had chances playing regularly as well as coming off the bench.
To show how little he's played, he entered Saturday with a .169 batting average, and raised it to .197 with his three-hit performance. He came into Sunday with 76 big league at-bats in 33 games.
At New Orleans, where he played in 64 games, he batted .321.
"I don't think the results have been there," Petersen said. "Not playing every day, you just try to take the best at-bats you can.
"I'm trying to take some good at-bats, keep it rolling and try to build some confidence from there. When you're in a position like this, you've got to just take every at-bat like it's a new season. You try to take the positives out of everything."
Bonifacio injury latest in Marlins' string of adversity
WASHINGTON -- Injuries and adversity are inherent parts of the season that all teams have to deal with.
For a couple of months, they've struck the Marlins hard.
"It's the game. We know it's the game," general manager Michael Hill said. "You always know going into a year, you're going to have to absorb injuries, you're going to have to absorb adversity, whatever the adversity is. You have to absorb it to get to wherever you want to go."
The latest tough break was losing Emilio Bonifacio, placed on the disabled list on Saturday after spraining his left thumb on Friday.
An X-ray came back negative, but more will be known on Bonifacio's recovery after he is evaluated on Monday in Miami by team physicians.
Although Bonifacio has been playing second base since Omar Infante was traded to Detroit, he opened the season in center field.
Now all three of Miami's Opening Day outfielders are on the disabled list. Giancarlo Stanton had surgery on his right knee on July 8, and he is expected to return on Tuesday in New York. Logan Morrison went on the DL on July 29 with right knee inflammation. He may need season-ending surgery.
The string of injuries has prevented the team from developing continuity. When Miami acquired Carlos Lee from the Astros on July 4, they hoped he would help solidify the heart of the order.
"We make a trade for Lee, and Stanton has to go on the DL because of his knee," Hill said. "You're on the brink of getting Stanton back, and Boni makes a dive and re-injures his thumb."
The Marlins have slipped out of contention, but Hill says the goal has remained the same.
"The bottom line is you're still trying to win baseball games," Hill said. "That's still the goal."
The final two months are crucial because players are being evaluated for the future.
"There are players that are in different parts of their careers," Hill said. "They're playing to establish themselves, show whatever they want to show. But the bottom line is, you're still trying to win baseball games."
Giancarlo Stanton is getting his timing and home run swing down while playing in rehab-assignment games at Class A Jupiter. On Saturday night, Stanton was the designated hitter, and he hit a home run in four at-bats for the Hammerheads. He has two home runs now in three games over 12 at-bats. The plan remains for Stanton, who had surgery on his right knee on July 8, to join the Marlins on Tuesday in New York. More on Stanton's status will be determined after the team evaluates his situation following Sunday's game.
Justin Ruggiano was in center field on Sunday, his first start since Tuesday. He had been hampered by back spasms and was held to two pinch-hit appearances between starts.
Carlos Lee extended his hitting streak to 11 games, with six of them multi-hit games.