ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Since Emilio Bonifacio went down with a strained left thumb in late May, the Marlins have sought production from center field.
Scott Cousins hopes he can fill the void.
The Marlins promoted Cousins from Triple-A New Orleans on Friday night. He made his first start of the season on Saturday, and he delivered the game-winning hit, an RBI triple in the 15th inning off Brandon Gomes.
Miami prevailed, 4-3, over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"I'm going to play as hard as I can and help the team win any way I know how," Cousins said. "Hopefully, I can be that piece that gets the cylinders running."
Cousins has the strongest outfield arm in the system, and he made several nice plays in center field.
Bonifacio went down on May 18, jamming his thumb while being thrown out stealing at Cleveland. The speedster had surgery to repair a torn ligament, and he isn't expected back until around the All-Star Break.
Cousins was back in the starting lineup on Sunday.
The Marlins are looking for someone to step up. Bryan Petersen and Chris Coghlan both were given opportunities to fill the void. Both are now at Triple-A.
Petersen was 10-for-44 (.227) after Bonifacio's injury. And Coghlan was 9-for-59 (.153) since May 18.
Hitting coach Perez staying positive
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Struggling with runners in scoring position is one of the glaring problems with the Marlins.
The frustration is shared, naturally, by the fans, as well as the players, coaches and the front office.
As a team, the Marlins' .215 average with runners in scoring position ranks 15th in the 16-team National League.
"If I'm a fan, I'd be looking and going, 'What's going on?'" hitting coach Eduardo Perez said. "The same here. As a coach, you put in the extra hours, you break it down. You take two, three guys out at a time, and work with them. The early BP, it's not just swinging and saying, 'Look how hard I hit it.' There is a plan to every batting practice."
Wasting scoring chances was an issue on Saturday night, when Miami won, 4-3, in 15 innings. The Marlins were 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
A former big leaguer, Perez played from 1993-2006. His first hitting coach when he was a rookie with the Angels was Rod Carew.
"Rod Carew didn't know why I couldn't make the adjustment like that," Perez said.
Things came more easily for Carew, a Hall of Famer.
Perez learned to be upbeat from his ex-coaches, Mike Easler and Mitchell Page, who passed away in 2011.
"The thing is, for a coach, you didn't have to be a great player," Perez said. "What you need is to be a great communicator.
"We're all human. Do we get frustrated in a game? Yeah, we do. But my job is to make sure that player is prepared. What example am I going to show if I do get frustrated during the game. I have to be able to stay focused on the task at hand. "I firmly believe what's done is done. You have to look forward. You have to keep working. You have to have fun at this thing. Teams that have success are teams that have fun at this game. Winning creates that fun atmosphere, but also fun creates winning."
Father's Day special for local product Webb
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Father's Day is a little more special for Ryan Webb.
With the Marlins playing the Rays at Tropicana Field, Webb's family is able to attend the series.
The 26-year-old right-handed reliever is from Clearwater, Fla., and his parents will be at the game.
A graduate of Clearwater Central Catholic High, Webb came up big in the Marlins' 4-3 win in 15 innings on Saturday. The right-hander threw three innings of scoreless relief, and he was credited with the win.
Webb actually recorded the final out of the 14th inning at midnight.
"So I pitched on Father's Day," the right-hander said.
The Marlins also are off on Monday before facing the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday. So after Sunday's series finale with the Rays, Webb will spend time with his family.
"It means a lot," Webb said. "The fact that I can come to any city and have my family come watch is something everybody dreams of. We have a day off Monday, so I'll be able to stay and spend some time on Father's Day with them. It's really special."
Webb has a special relationship with his dad, because the two share something in common. Both have pitched in the big leagues.
Hank Webb was a 10th round Draft pick by the Mets in 1968. He saw action with New York from 1972-76, and he was with the Dodgers in 1977.
Hank appeared in 53 MLB games.
"I'll always have two pitching coaches, I can say," Ryan said. "Growing up, I was always the one prying him for information. He was never really pushing me to go out there and play baseball. I'd pitch in high school, and we'd go out after every single game and talk about pitching."
In 2004, the A's selected Webb in the fourth round. He was traded in 2009 to the Padres, and the Marlins acquired the right-hander, along with Edward Mujica, after the 2010 season for Cameron Maybin.
Webb has become a valuable late-innings reliever for the Marlins.
"After I got drafted, I called [my dad] every single day," Webb said. "It was just nice to always have somebody to talk to. To have somebody who has seen me every day, and watch me progress. He always has a lot of good information, and is a good influence. It's special to have him here."