MIAMI -- Miami's struggling offense is about to get a significant power boost.
All-Star Giancarlo Stanton is set to return to the lineup on Thursday when the Marlins open a four-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
"Stanton hit today, and he said things felt good," manager Mike Redmond said. "He should be good to go for tomorrow. That's a good sign, obviously. We all know how important he is to this lineup. That's good news. He felt better today."
Counting Wednesday's series finale with the Nationals at Marlins Park, Stanton will have missed six straight games.
The 23-year-old slugger jarred his shoulder while making a diving catch on April 5 at the Mets. He remained playing through discomfort, before the shoulder pinched on April 12.
In nine games, Stanton is batting .167 with no home runs or RBIs. Still, he is one of the most feared hitters in the game, and he is the focal point of Miami's lineup.
"Obviously, he's such a big part of our lineup," Redmond said. "At the same time, too, these games don't stop. We've got to keep playing, keep grinding, and guys have to fill that spot until he gets back.
"We've battled. Guys have had scrappy at-bats, but it will be good to get him back in that lineup to get some consistency. I don't want to have all these different lineups. I'd love to be able to write it down, that this is our right-handed lineup, and this is our left-handed lineup, and let's go get 'em. We haven't had that. Tomorrow, we hope that is the start of having a more stable lineup."
Placido Polanco has been hitting third in Stanton's absence.
Mahoney activated, available off bench vs. Nats
MIAMI -- It didn't take long for Joe Mahoney to leave his mark on Marlins Park.
During batting practice, the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder deposited three balls into the second deck in right field. For good measure, another of his drives smacked off the facing of the second deck, knocking out a few panels from a Johnson Controls advertisement. In fact, the drive knocked the letter "s" off of Controls.
"I build them up in BP," said manager Mike Redmond, who pitched to Mahoney. "That's what I do. He's a big, strong guy."
Mahoney on Wednesday was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, where he had been out with an intercostal strain. The first baseman, who also may play some corner outfield, is replacing catcher Kyle Skipworth, who was optioned after Wednesday's 8-2 win over Washington.
Mahoney showed some power in Spring Training, belting three home runs while driving in eight in 30 at-bats before he was sidelined.
In four rehab-assignment games for Class A Jupiter, Mahoney hit .438 (7-for-16) with one home run.
"I was feeling good down there, and [the Marlins] had a need," Mahoney said. "That's what I'm here for, to help this team win any way I can."
Mahoney was an option off the bench on Wednesday night, and Redmond is trying to figure out when to use him. Greg Dobbs has been effective at first base since Casey Kotchman strained his left hamstring in the second game of the season.
"[Mahoney] gives us another left-handed bat," Redmond said. "We've got to figure out when we will get him in there. He's a guy with power potential in the batting order. Hopefully, he will be a boost to our lineup."
A year ago, Mahoney made his big league debut with the Orioles. He appeared in two games and was hitless in four at-bats.
Hechavarria latest to be scratched from lineup
MIAMI -- On Wednesday night, yet another regular was scratched due to an ailment.
Adeiny Hechavarria, who belted a three-run homer in Tuesday's 8-2 win, was taken out of the lineup due to a sore right elbow.
Hechavarria participated in batting practice, but he felt discomfort and was replaced in the starting lineup at shortstop by Chris Valaika, who batted eighth.
"He's going to be evaluated, and we should know more tomorrow, hopefully," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think he made a throw and had some discomfort in his elbow. That's why we took him out, and we should know more tomorrow."
The Marlins lost, 6-1, to the Nationals on Wednesday night, and the team is opening a four-game series at Cincinnati on Thursday. Hechavarria, meanwhile, will be examined in Miami, and it is unclear if he will be available for the road trip.
Although Valaika started at shortstop on Thursday, there is a chance second baseman Donovan Solano will play some shortstop with Valaika playing second base if Hechavarria is out for an extended period.
Since last Friday night, the Marlins have had four players scratched from the starting lineup in six days -- Giancarlo Stanton (Friday), Justin Ruggiano (Saturday), Austin Kearns (Sunday) and now Hechavarria.
Hechavarria had started the first 14 games.
In 15 games, the Marlins have had 14 different lineups.
• Austin Kearns, hospitalized overnight on Sunday with an irregular heartbeat, was in the starting lineup in right field on Wednesday. "It's good to be back with the guys and not sitting in a hospital bed," Kearns said.
Kearns noted that on Sunday he woke up with an elevated heart rate that didn't go away. The veteran has never had any heart issues, and he is on medication. "I was a little nervous," he said. "I've never had anything like that before."
• Henderson Alvarez on Wednesday threw 35 pitches off the mound. Alvarez is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, and he isn't expected to join the rotation until late April or early May. The right-hander is scheduled to throw about 50 pitches off the mound on Saturday, and a simulated game could follow a few days later. "He's starting his progression, and he's feeling good," Redmond said. "That's the most important thing."