Ozuna enjoying early results as No. 2 hitter

Bonds helping Marlins slugger stay up the middle

Ozuna enjoying early results as No. 2 hitter

JUPITER, Fla. -- It's just two games and four at-bats, but Marcell Ozuna is already finding a comfort zone batting in the second spot in the Marlins' order.

The 25-year-old center fielder belted a home run and ripped a double in his only two plate appearances in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | More info

Ozuna crushed a one-out home run to left field off Tyler Lyons in the first inning. His double came in the third inning.

New Miami hitting coach Barry Bonds has Ozuna stressing a middle-of-the-field approach. In the small sample size, the results have been positive.

In Tuesday's 5-1 win over the University of Miami, Ozuna was hitless in two at-bats, but he hit the ball hard both times.

"We're just keeping him in the middle of the field," manager Don Mattingly said. "He doesn't have to try to pull the ball. He's going to pull the ball automatically."

Ozuna had a disappointing 2015, when he batted .259 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs.

"Again, it's just a new season," Mattingly said. "Last year didn't go very well. But you know what? It's a new year. We know it's in there."

Along with Ozuna, non-roster invitee Justin Maxwell also connected on a solo home run.

Maxwell, who was with the Giants last year, made the defensive play of the game, leaping to rob third baseman Patrick Wisdom of a potential home run in the seventh inning.

It wasn't the first time Maxwell scaled the wall at Roger Dean Stadium to take back a would-be homer. Several years ago, when he was with the Nationals, the 6-foot-5 outfielder made a similar catch against former Cardinal Chris Duncan.

Maxwell is providing organizational depth with big league experience. He signed with Miami after president of baseball operations Michael Hill aggressively pushed for the 32-year-old during the offseason.

"I had a frustrating end of the year last year with the Giants," Maxwell said. "It's always nice to be wanted. It seemed like a good fit. I think a couple of days after I signed, Barry Bonds was named hitting coach.

"I got a chance to meet him last year. He was also my favorite player as a kid, so it was pretty cool."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.