MIAMI -- Fans are seeing signs from time to time of what Garrett Jones can do in the middle of the Marlins' order. What Jones and the Marlins are looking for is consistency.
The Marlins are counting on Jones to offer protection in the cleanup spot behind Giancarlo Stanton. Manager Mike Redmond regularly bats the 32-year-old first baseman fourth against right-handed starters, and fifth or lower against lefties.
In the first two weeks, Jones' slash line is .230/.314/.361. He obviously wants the batting average to be higher, and he's drawing walks (eight), but he's striking out a lot (24 times).
Still, he offers power from the left side, and he has two homers, two doubles and eight RBIs in his first 16 games.
"A lot of times it's just confidence," Redmond said. "It's maybe one or two good games, and then all of a sudden, you take off. This guy is a big part of our team. We need him to produce and drive in runs in the middle of that order. He understands that."
Three times in his career, Jones has belted more than 20 homers in a season. But his past few seasons in Pittsburgh, he was used mostly in a platoon situation.
When the Marlins signed him as a free agent, they made it clear the first baseman would get an opportunity to play full-time. The feeling being, if he gets 500 at-bats, Jones could approach the 20-homer, 70-RBI plateau.
It's still a process, as he's working with hitting coach Frank Menechino.
"He's still working his swing out," Redmond said. "I know he's worked really hard with Frank. Not just on his swing, but his approach and staying aggressive on the fastball. I have seen some really good swings."
Yelich remains consistent amid Marlins' slump
MIAMI -- At a time when the Marlins as a team have been in a slump, Christian Yelich has stayed hot.
A career-high 11-game hitting streak entering Friday has helped raise Yelich's average to .317, and the 22-year-old left fielder is getting on base at a .388 clip. With his single in the second inning on Friday night, Yelich raised his streak to 12 games.
Yelich is regarded as a pure hitter who has impressed with his patience and keen eye for the strike zone. He's already drawn seven walks and scored 11 runs.
Miami's first-round Draft pick in 2010, Yelich is emerging into the type of hitter many projected. In time, he projects to be a middle-of-the-order threat, but for now, he is a tablesetter for Giancarlo Stanton and Co.
The Thousand Oaks, Calif., native also is well-grounded when it comes to the highs and lows of a long season.
"Baseball is funny like that," Yelich said. "You've got cold streaks, hot streaks. I'm sure I'll be cold again, and you guys will be asking me, 'Why do you [stink]?'"
The streak started on April 3, and Yelich has had hits in all but two games he's started. During the streak, he is 17-for-46 (.370) with a .453 on-base percentage. He's got one double, one triple, four RBIs and nine runs scored.
"It's kind of just baseball. That's how it goes," Yelich said. "You try to ride out your highs as long as you can, and minimize those lows."
Rehabbing Turner throws off mound
MIAMI -- Jacob Turner is moving closer to game action.
The Marlins right-hander, on the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain, threw roughly 45 pitches off the mound on Friday afternoon at Marlins Park. Next up is another bullpen session on Sunday, the last day of Miami's homestand.
If that goes smoothly, Turner will head to the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., early next week. The Marlins will be going on the road to Atlanta while Turner moves closer to a return from the DL.
"If everything goes well, he will go up to Jupiter," manager Mike Redmond said. "He will go to Jupiter while we're on the road and pitch."
No firm date is set, but Turner could begin a rehab assignment perhaps sometime next week.
In the meantime, Kevin Slowey is filling Turner's rotation spot, and the veteran will pitch in the series finale against the Mariners on Sunday.
Also on the injury front, Rafael Furcal is scheduled to continue his rehab assignment with the Hammerheads. The second baseman, on the DL with a strained left hamstring, was given Thursday off after he had played several games in a row.
Early next week, Furcal is expected to continue his rehab assignment at Double-A Jacksonville. The Marlins anticipate he will take close to the full 20 days allowed for a rehab assignment.
Once the second baseman gets to playing nine innings over successive games, that will be an indicator that he is close to being reinstated.
• Adeiny Hechavarria, who defected from Cuba in 2009, is surprised like many by the now international story surrounding Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who also is from Cuba.
Hechavarria on Friday briefly spoke about how he was able to flee Cuba five years ago. He was on a boat, which included civilians and two other ballplayers, that reached Mexico.
"Everything went well on my first try," Hechavarria said in Spanish. "I got to Mexico, established my residency within two to three months, and from there I was able to fly to the Dominican, where I was signed. And that's it."
Hechavarria's parents also are in Miami with him. Hechavarria and Jose Fernandez are Miami's two Cuban-born players. Fernandez's story is well-documented. He defected in 2008, also through Mexico, and he settled in Tampa, Fla.