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Fill-in Ozuna has plans to stick around

Called up after Stanton's injury, outfielder projects as future star

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MIAMI -- It was nothing personal for Marcell Ozuna, but the Marlins prospect was informed by his former Double-A teammates not to return.

Ozuna, 22, made his MLB debut on Tuesday night, and he chipped in with his first big league hit, a single to left field against Jeremy Hefner in his second at-bat. Miami went on to win, 2-1, rallying with two runs in the ninth inning.

Afterwards, Ozuna received some calls from Jacksonville.

"'Don't come back,'" Ozuna said he was told. "Some people called and said for me to keep swinging, and that I'm doing well."

Miami promoted Ozuna to the big leagues on Tuesday after All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

Being without Stanton for perhaps a month creates a big void in the Marlins' offense. It will take a collective effort to pick up the production, but Ozuna is certainly capable of posting strong numbers.

In 10 games at Jacksonville, Ozuna batted .333 with five home runs and 15 RBIs. Before the callup, he was named the Southern League's Player of the Week.

Rated the Marlins' sixth-best prospect by MLB.com, Ozuna projects to be a middle-of-the-lineup threat. He batted fifth on Wednesday in the series finale against the Mets at Marlins Park.

Already, Ozuna has a great souvenir of his first big league hit -- the baseball, with the signatures of all his teammates on it.

"They signed the ball, and I'm going to put it on my wall at home," Ozuna said. "It's a big moment. It's the first step in my career."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less

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