MIAMI -- Making it through the stretch run in the big leagues is something new for Miami rookie Christian Yelich, but being a productive hitter isn't.
At every level, Yelich has performed.
The difference now is the 21-year-old is experiencing the grind of making it through the final month of a Major League campaign. In the Minor Leagues, the left-handed-hitting outfielder was used to being done either in late August or early September.
So far, Yelich has posted strong numbers this month, going 12-for-25 (.480) over his first six games of September.
Always regarded as a natural hitter, Yelich has seen his overall batting average rise to .292 and his on-base percentage is now .360.
Gaining valuable experience is something he is striving for over the season's final three weeks.
"You keep playing baseball and learning," the rookie said. "The more at-bats you can get under your belt, the more comfortable you're going to be. I don't think I'm looking to change anything or do anything I haven't done already. I'm just trying to stay consistent, and battle it out every night."
Since the return of Chris Coghlan from injury, Yelich has moved from leadoff to hitting third. Coghlan has moved into the top spot in the order.
No matter where he's batted, Yelich retains a patient approach, drawing his share of walks and deep counts.
"It's been the same, so far," said Yelich. "I think the way they go about you depends on if guys are in scoring position or not. That's the same if you're hitting leadoff with a guy in scoring position, or you're hitting third with a guy in scoring position. It's the same. I haven't really seen anything too different.
"You're trying to get on base no matter where you are at. But if you are hitting third, you have more opportunity to drive in some runs."
Stanton gets Sunday off to rest ankle
MIAMI -- A day of rest, the Marlins hope, is all Giancarlo Stanton will need to get his right ankle ready for the upcoming series with the Braves.
Since rolling his ankle at Atlanta on Sept. 1, Stanton had played through the pain. But the discomfort intensified on Saturday night, and in the eighth inning, the 23-year-old slugger was replaced in a game Miami lost 9-2 to the Nationals.
"After that last at-bat, I saw him hopping around on it," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We got him out of there. He was about the same today. He's day to day. We'll see how it goes."
As a precaution, Stanton had an X-ray taken after Saturday's game, and he said it came back negative.
"We're hoping today helps a lot and then tomorrow he's feeling much better -- and we'll decide if he needs another day or if he is good to go," said Redmond.
The Marlins open a four-game series with the Braves on Monday night at Marlins Park.
Chris Coghlan started in right field on Sunday in the series finale with Washington.
It's been a down year for Stanton, who is batting .249 with a team-high 19 homers and 46 RBIs.
Still, with his immense power, the right fielder is one of the more feared sluggers in the game.
Justin Ruggiano, second on the team in homers (16) and RBIs (43), batted cleanup in pace of Stanton on Sunday.
"We've all got to step up," Ruggiano said. "We all know what happens when he's out. You can't really try to do too much. Replacing him, you just have to try to do what you can do."
Brantly makes first start since return
MIAMI -- Game experience may be important, but so is production.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond quickly points this fact out when discussing catcher Rob Brantly, who has struggled in what was expected to be his first full season in the big leagues.
"I think a lot of people talk about experience and playing," Redmond said. "I think experience and playing is good. But if you're not playing well, then it's not good. I think sometimes you learn a lot by sitting there and watching older guys, and how they're calling games, and how they handle situations."
Brantly, 23, was Miami's Opening Day catcher. But he had his issues at the plate and behind the plate. He eventually was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans shortly after he started on Aug. 7 at Pittsburgh.
In the series finale against the Nationals on Sunday, Brantly made his first start since being a September callup. He went 0-for-3 with a walk.
The 24-year-old is batting .221 with one homer and 18 RBIs in 208 big league at-bats this year.
Brantly's playing time was reduced a few weeks before the All-Star break, after Jeff Mathis returned from the disabled list.
The catcher position is one of the toughest in the game because it requires handling pitchers, calling games, and hitting.
A former backup big league catcher, Redmond said he was able to learn from watching on bench. He hopes Brantly can do the same.
Redmond and bench coach Rob Leary are former catchers who have worked extensively with Brantly. In recent days, Minor League catching coordinator Clint Sammons has been with the club to also offer assistance.
Sammons, who worked with Brantly at New Orleans, is also assisting interim hitting coach John Pierson, as a number of coaches are wearing several different hats now that the roster has been expanded.
The Marlins are hopeful that Brantly is able to slow the game down and make steady improvements.
"As we all know, in the big leagues, things get moving pretty quickly up here," Redmond said. "You've got to be able to make sure you have a plan and are able to follow through. That's one of the things Brantly continues to work on, having a plan and being able to work on it."