MIA@NYM: Stanton lays out to rob Nieuwenhuis of a hit

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton could be back in the lineup as early as a day or two.

The Marlins' 23-year-old right fielder took batting practice early on Tuesday afternoon, and he will see how he feels on Wednesday before a decision is made.

Stanton has a bruised left shoulder, and he has missed five games.

"He took batting practice, and we're just going to wait to see the way it responds," manager Mike Redmond said. "He hasn't done anything in five days. We'll see how it feels throughout the day, and tomorrow, and we'll go from there."

Stanton last played April 10, and he took batting practice last Friday before being scratched about 30 minutes before the Marlins faced the Phillies.

An MRI taken on Saturday revealed a bruise, and Stanton has felt a pinch when raising his arm. But on Tuesday, he was considerably better, and tested the shoulder by swinging the bat.

Before being cleared to play, the team is waiting to see how Stanton's shoulder responds the day after doing baseball-related activities.

"He said it felt good," Redmond said. "It felt a lot better. That's encouraging. I'm hoping that he shows up tomorrow and it feels even better. That will be a really encouraging sign."

Although Stanton is off to a slow start, hitting .167 with no homers or RBIs in 30 at-bats, Stanton remains one of the most feared hitters in the game.

Miami has struggled to manufacture much offense, and being without their biggest threat has been tough.

The Marlins wrap up their nine-game homestand on Wednesday, and it is questionable if Stanton will be ready for the series finale with the Nationals.

Perhaps a more realistic return is when the team opens a four-game set at Cincinnati on Thursday.

"We want to make sure that he's right, and that it doesn't still hurt him," Redmond said. "We don't want to push him. We want to make sure everything feels right with him before we do that."

For Miami GM Hill, events in Boston hit home

WSH@MIA: Marlins sing 'Sweet Caroline' for Boston

MIAMI -- The explosions that occurred at the Boston Marathon on Monday hit home for Marlins general manager Michael Hill.

A Cincinnati native, Hill is a 1993 Harvard University graduate and in 2009, he ran the Boston Marathon.

Hill has friends in the area that he has reached out to in the past 24 hours.

"Obviously, your thoughts and prayers are to everyone there," the Marlins executive said. "It's a senseless tragedy."

As someone who crossed the finish line in Boston, Hill said it was surreal to watch the violence that occurred on Monday.

"It was unbelievable to see it unfolding," he said. "To think someone would do that is unimaginable."

In the middle of the eighth inning at Marlins Park, the Marlins' in-game host, Katherine, was on the video scoreboard asking the crowd of 16,200 to rise and sing "Sweet Caroline" in tribute to the victims in Boston. One fan was shown holding a USA flag with wording to pay tribute to the victims in Boston.

The tragedy in Boston raises awareness of security at all public events, including baseball stadiums like Marlins Park.

"You always have to be mindful and be careful with everything you do," Hill said. "Hopefully, this was just a sick person or sick people who will be brought to justice, and it won't happen again. You always have to be mindful and aware of your surroundings to what is going on."

Mahoney to be reinstated from DL on Wednesday

MIA@NYM: Mahoney hits a homer in the fourth inning

MIAMI -- Some first base help is on the way to Miami.

After the Marlins defeated the Nationals, 8-2, on Tuesday night, the team announced catcher Kyle Skipworth has been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. In a corresponding move on Wednesday, first baseman Joe Mahoney will be reinstated off the 15-day disabled list.

Mahoney, a left-handed hitter with power potential, opened the season on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22, with an intercostal strain.

Mahoney appeared in four rehab-assignment games for Class A Jupiter, batting .438 (7-for-16) with one home run, one double and one RBI.

Skipworth was called up from New Orleans on April 5 after Casey Kotchman was placed on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

Coghlan, Pierre switch spots atop lineup

WSH@MIA: Coghlan grounds a single to bring home a run

MIAMI -- Runs have been hard to come by for the Marlins, so manager Mike Redmond made a shift at the top of the order on Tuesday night against the Nationals.

For the first time this season, Juan Pierre didn't lead off. Instead, Chris Coghlan stepped into the spot, while Pierre slid to second.

"We just flip-flopped them," Redmond said. "If Cogs gets on, JP can bunt and do a lot of different things. Why not? Just mix it up, and see if it works, or if it sparks anything. We'll see."

In 2009, when Coghlan won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, he led off. Until Tuesday, the last time he hit first was on June 15, 2011, in the first game of a doubleheader at Philadelphia.

In Monday's 10-3 loss, Coghlan had two hits, giving him his first multi-hit game since June 3, 2012 at Philadelphia.

"He had good at-bats," Redmond said. "He was aggressive."

Like most on the team, Pierre is off to a slow start, batting .180 (9-for-50).

Coghlan also is looking to get going, carrying a .130 (3-for-23) average into Tuesday's game.

"Obviously, at this stage, we're trying to see what fits," Redmond said. "Ultimately, if you get on base and get a couple of hits, you might go from hitting seventh to third."

Worth noting

• Austin Kearns, who spent Sunday night at the University of Miami Hospital due to an irregular heartbeat, played catch in the outfield on Tuesday and was cleared to play prior to the game vs. Washington.

• Christian Yelich, ranked 13th on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect List, was used as the designated hitter on Tuesday in an extended spring game in Jupiter. The 21-year-old outfielder is recovering from a bruised left heel. He is expected to progress in a couple of days to Class A Jupiter games before he joins Double-A Jacksonville.

• Outfield prospects Jake Marisnick (broken left hand) and Marcell Ozuna (broken left wrist) each have been playing in extended spring. They are joining Jupiter, where they will play a few games before being reinstated at Jacksonville on Saturday.

• In his last start, on April 12 at Triple-A New Orleans, right-hander Jacob Turner was struck on the leg by a batted ball, and he was replaced after 2 1/3 innings. Turner is expected to make his next start.