Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan looked forward to the road trips against the Rays since it was a trip home for him.

Coghlan's relatives and friends would sit in the same section at Tropicana Field to cheer on Coghlan, who grew up just north of St. Petersburg in Tarpon Springs.

But there was no cheering from that section Friday, as Coghlan was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans before the start of the three-game series against the Rays.

It was quite a fall for Coghlan, 25, the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year who lost his role as leadoff hitter last week and now has lost his spot on the roster. He'll have to straighten things out in the minors.

"He took it hard," said Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez, who delivered the news to Coghlan Friday morning. "He's the rookie of the year and he knows he belongs here. He's just having a bad start."

Rodriguez said Coghlan's troubles go back to spring training, when shoulder pain limited his playing time.

"I think when the season started he was a little bit behind offensively because he missed so much time in spring training," Rodriguez said. "Now he's trying to get back his swing and it's not working."

Coghlan, who played in 65 of the Marlins' first 69 games, was hitting .230 with an on-base percentage of .296.

Coghlan hit .321 in 2009 in 128 games. He hit .268 last year in 91 games, with his season cut short when he tore a knee ligament July 25 while celebrating a walk-off single by Wes Helms. The injury required surgery.