Notebook: Adeiny Hechavarria flashes potential on Opening Night
MIAMI — The Marlins scored double-digit runs on Opening Night, and the bottom of the order played a huge role in that production.
Marcell Ozuna and Adeiny Hechavarria both collected three hits in the seventh and eighth spots, respectively.
Hechavarria, who finished last in batting average (.227) among 17 qualifying major-league shortstops last season, went 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI.
"He’s worked hard with (hitting coach) Frankie (Menechino) on driving the ball the other way, staying on pitches, at the same time too working on when he gets balls middle in pulling them," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think the key to his success what we talked about last year is drive that ball to right field."
It’s an encouraging sign for the 24-year-old, who enters his second full major-league season after playing in 148 games in 2013. He hit .319 in 17 Grapefruit League games.
Hechavarria came to the Marlins from the Blue Jays known for his glove rather than his bat. Last season, he recorded just six three-hit games.
"Hopefully the way he swung the bat last night is an indicator of the kind of year he can have," Redmond said. "If he does that he’ll be the Gold Glover for sure."
LUCAS TO HAVE SURGERY
Marlins utility player Ed Lucas will undergo surgery on Wednesday to insert a pin in his third metacarpal for the non-displaced fracture in his left hand.
Lucas, who was hit by a Scott McGregor pitch last Thursday, said that could push back his timeframe of 4 to 6 weeks an extra week. He is on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to March 28).
"I was told it was the best way to break my hand," Lucas said.
While the 31-year-old cannot take grounders and struggles to grip items, he can throw and do cardio work. He found lefty Logan Morrison’s outfield glove in the Marlins clubhouse and planned on using it during batting practice to shag fly balls.
Upon his return, Lucas will look into batting gloves that provide added protection to his hand.
"I’m not one who’s going to back off the plate," said Lucas, who also got hit a couple times in a similar fashion last season but didn’t sustain an injury.
HAND IN BULLPEN
Opening Night may have belonged to Jose Fernandez and a double-digit-scoring offense, but Marlins lefty Brad Hand also left his mark.
Hand threw two scoreless one-hit innings to close out the 10-1 victory Monday night at Marlins Park. He struck out one batter and walked none, needing just 17 pitches (14 strikes).
The 24-year-old lost out on the fifth spot in the rotation, but he still posted a 2.70 ERA in six games (five starts) during spring training to warrant a spot on the roster.
"That was a good start to get in there and throw two innings," Hand said. "It was good to get in there Opening Day for sure. We’ll see what happens from now on."
Working out of the bullpen is relatively new for Hand, who entered the season with just 8 2/3 innings — all last year — as a reliever. At his locker sits a pink kids’ backpack with the inscription, "Bullpen rookie."
Monday marked a test run in terms of how max effort he can go with his pitches and how long his outings will last. The coaches ensured he got plenty of time to warm up by timing the call to the bullpen.
"I haven’t really figured it out yet," Hand said. "I’m sure once I get in there a few times and get a feel for what I can do and stuff. You have to come to the field every day prepared to pitch rather than starting and you know you start every fifth day."
Worth noting — The Marlins pitching staff is the youngest in baseball, averaging 26.149 years. The rotation (Fernandez, Eovaldi, Alvarez, Turner, Koehler) is even younger at 24.027 years. Miami has the third-youngest active roster (27 years, 262 days).