Manuel on Marlins: 'They've got to be a contender'

It is difficult to pinpoint the technical details of Charlie Manuel's work with the Phillies' hitters. (Sarah J. Glover/Staff Photographer)

The Daily News begins our National League East spring training preview series in tomorrow's editions with a look at the newly named Miami Marlins.

Here is a sneak peek at what Phillies manager Charlie Manuel had to say: 

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel loves hitting, and when he looks to Miami, he sees lots and lots of hitting.

"Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez are proven, and Mike Stanton is the No. 1 power-hitting prospect around,’’ Manuel said, almost giddy at the trio’s potential.

Potential doesn’t win divisions. Usually, it’s pitching, and Miami’s ace, unlike the left side of the infield, is unproven.

“Josh Johnson is definitely the key for them,’’ Manuel said of the injury-plagued righthander.

Johnson’s health and production might equal wins, but the presence of bombastic manager Ozzie Guillen might mean money.

“That might be a really good fit for Ozzie, because he could connect with the [Hispanic] community there. It might be the first time a manager attracts fans to them,’’ Manuel said.

Clearly, Manuel is pleased that, for once, a team besides the Mets has put financial pressure on itself: “They’ve got to be a contender.’’