LOS ANGELES -- In Spring Training, Donovan Solano was trying to show he was worthy of a big league opportunity.
Now, the 24-year-old infielder is proving that he belongs.
"He's been a really good story for us, especially coming into Spring Training when nobody had seen him yet," Marlins hitting coach Eduardo Perez said.
Solano has become a fixture in the lineup since Omar Infante was traded to the Tigers on July 23.
A native of Colombia, he has been playing regularly at second base. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fifth-inning single on Sunday. And he had one stretch on the road trip -- Aug. 20-22 -- in which he reached base safely nine straight times.
"He's playing really good defense out there. He's fundamentally sound, as far as I'm concerned," Perez said. "Offensively, he is doing the little things. He got that runner over [Saturday], which set the table."
August has been Solano's best month, as he's batting .304 with a double, triple and seven RBIs.
A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Solano previously was in the Cardinals' system, where he never had a big league opportunity.
Perez formerly played for St. Louis, and he gathered some insight after Solano was acquired.
"I had heard that he was a good, solid ballplayer, but he was a guy who never had any experience in the big leagues," Perez said. "He never had the opportunity. He's seized the most of it, and did it while coming off the bench.
"He knows he belongs. That's huge. It's big for him, his family. It's confidence. Next year, he will go into Spring Training in a different role. He will try to increase himself to the ballclub, and us figuring out if he can play at this level or not."
Stanton thriving, so Ozzie keeps slugger in fifth spot
LOS ANGELES -- Since Giancarlo Stanton is on a roll, the Marlins don't want to mess around with a good thing.
Manager Ozzie Guillen remains committed to batting Stanton fifth, meaning he isn't guaranteed to bat in the first inning.
Certainly, Stanton has found a comfort zone in the fifth spot, where he entered Sunday hitting .323 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs in 33 games this season.
The 22-year-old homered off Dodgers starter Aaron Harang in the fourth inning on Sunday, giving him a shot in each game in the series, and eight in the 11-game trip. His eight homers are a Marlins record for a road trip.
Asked if he is considering moving Stanton to third or fourth, Guillen said: "No, because he feels comfortable there."
Ideally, Guillen doesn't want to shuffle the lineup on a regular basis. Part of the decision to keep Stanton fifth is because of Jose Reyes, who has heated up after moving from leadoff to third.
Reyes is hitting .322 since moving to third.
Carlos Lee continues to hit fourth, where he's been a steady run producer.
With 28 homers on the season, Stanton is one of the most powerful hitters in the game. He's also hitting his home runs in a lineup where he isn't receiving much protection.
"I don't want to start moving people around, changing the lineup," Guillen said. "Nobody in this lineup,
Of course, if Stanton did move to the third spot, he would likely get more chances to hit.
"We think about it," Guillen said of a switch. "But I think Reyes is batting good in the third spot. Then we'd have to move Reyes to the second spot. And move around the lineup."
Stanton did miss substantial time in July because he underwent right knee surgery. And the team has given him some periodic days off.
That was another factor in keeping the slugger fifth.
"He missed [one] month and still has almost 30 home runs," Guillen said.
Ozzie: Money only buys teams 'better chance'
LOS ANGELES -- In the offseason, the Marlins went on a spending spree when they signed Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Heath Bell for a combined $191 million.
Opening up the payroll, however, didn't produce the results the organization expected. So, before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Marlins parted with some established players, who carried big contracts.
One of the moves was dealing Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers, which removed $40 million on Miami's budget through 2014.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, have made a huge financial commitment to players. Not only did they take on Ramirez's contract, on Saturday they finalized a major deal with Boston. Los Angeles acquired Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.
The Dodgers took on $270 million more in contracts.
Miami manager Ozzie Guillen says money alone doesn't mean anything.
"Money gets you better names," Guillen said. "It doesn't guarantee you any wins. That's it. That's all it is. Money gets you better names. Better chance.
"This is not the NBA. You bring two or three guys in. Baseball is different. It's all about picking the right players at the right time and going for it. We spent a lot of money to bring in a lot of names. Look at us right now."
Guillen called the Dodgers-Red Sox deal good for baseball.
"Maybe this is a chance for them to make the playoffs, and get a World Series ring," Guillen said. "When you have the opportunity, and the money to go for it, I think you go for it.
"That's a great trade for them [Boston]. They moved a lot of money, and can do a lot of things for their future. I think this is a great trade for the Dodgers, because they think they can win. Everybody does what they think is the best for their organization."