MIAMI -- Some neck stiffness isn't keeping Carlos Lee out of the lineup.
The Marlins' first baseman played a big role in Miami's 6-4 win over the Reds on Saturday night.
Lee belted a two-run homer and had three RBIs. The homer was his ninth of the season, and first at Marlins Park.
As of Friday night, it was unclear if Lee would be ready to play.
The veteran first baseman exited Friday's game due to a sore neck. The ailment occurred when he was tagged out after sliding headfirst into second base.
"I'm fine," Lee said. "I saw the doctor [on Friday night]. The doctor said that [this type of neck injury] is very common in football. All I experienced was the numbness in my fingers, that's why I came out."
After Friday's game, Lee told manager Ozzie Guillen that he would be ready to play.
"When I left here, I was getting the feeling back in my hand," Lee said. "I told the trainer, 'I'm not day to day. I'll be ready tomorrow.'"
Ozzie not second-guessing roster overhaul
MIAMI -- In the final weeks, the Marlins are aiming to win as many games as possible, and perhaps avoid finishing last in the National League East.
That's the reality of their situation, as they strive to salvage as much as possible from a lost year.
But could their predicament have been different if the organization had stayed the course and not pulled off four trades in late July?
Manager Ozzie Guillen isn't second-guessing the organization's decision to reshape the roster.
"Am I going to criticize the front office because of that?" Guillen said. "[Heck] no. It was better for the organization for the future."
The Marlins began making deals on July 23, when they sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Tigers.
Two days later, Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate were dealt to the Dodgers. Finally, Edward Mujica was traded to the Cardinals and Gaby Sanchez was moved to the Pirates at the July 31 Trade Deadline.
"The way I would look at it, we had more experienced players," Guillen said. "But I don't know. Because at that particular time when we traded the guys, we were playing very bad."
Had the Marlins kept the squad together, they likely would have more wins right now. But it is debatable if they would have made a run at the playoffs.
The Marlins had just been swept by the Pirates on July 22, and their record was 44-51.
The Pirates had the top NL Wild Card spot on July 22, and the Braves held the second spot.
Six teams were between the Braves and the Marlins at the time -- and the Phillies were 2 1/2 games behind them in the standings.
"[People] asked me, 'What's the worst thing about this year?'" Guillen said. "I said, 'When we had to trade four or five guys.'"
The way Guillen and the front office saw it, the group that opened the season hadn't clicked -- even in Spring Training. Plus, several of the established players hadn't been part of a winning season since 2009.
"Yes, we had them here, and we don't see it," Guillen said. "And we don't see it for one week, we see it for months. And the organization had been seeing that for years.
"It was time to say, 'Listen, you know what? I think we [made] a mistake.' Wear it. You learn, and move on. Was it a great team? Yes. But did they perform the way we thought they were going to perform? No."
Brantly riding a hot streak
MIAMI -- It's natural for rookies to be a bit overanxious.
When they break into the big leagues, sometimes they try too hard to make an immediate impact.
Marlins catcher Rob Brantly is no different.
Brantly recalls his first MLB at-bat, which came on Aug. 14 against the Phillies at Marlins Park.
In the second inning, Brantly struck out swinging against Kyle Kendrick.
"I was really over-antsy when I first got here," the 23-year-old said. "I've always been kind of a high-energy guy. When I get over-amped, that's when I get into trouble.
"I was facing Kendrick my first day. I will never forget my first at-bat. I came back in and said, 'Man, how am I swinging through those changeups?' Everybody looked at me, and said, 'Changeups? They're coming in at 91, 92 [miles per hour].' My mind was going so quick. I was swinging at the ball right out of [his] hand."
Brantly is now settling into being in the big leagues. The left-handed-hitting rookie extended his hitting streak to seven games with a double in the second inning on Saturday night against the Reds.
The Marlins acquired Brantly from the Tigers on July 23 as part of the Anibal Sanchez/Omar Infante trade.
The Marlins are giving Brantly a look now to see if he will be ready to play on a regular basis in 2013.
Brantly has hit at every level, and once he gained some confidence, it was a matter of time before he had results in the big leagues.
"It's a long season," Brantly said. "During the season, you go through peaks and valleys. You try and ride your peaks out as long as you can, and minimize the valleys."