Coghlan not averse to bursts of power

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Belting home runs is the least of Chris Coghlan's concerns.

The Marlins' leadoff hitter will occasionally flash some power, like he did on Monday night in a 10-3 win over the Mets.

Coghlan connected on his fifth home run of the season, driving the ball to right-center field, about 380 feet at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

If he hit that ball at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, where the wall in right-center is 385 feet, Coghlan said it would have been extra bases, not over the fence.

"At our place, that's a double or triple," Coghlan said.

A natural hitter who batted .321 as a rookie in 2009, Coghlan projects to be a 10-15-homer per year player.

"It's the one stat I care the least about," Coghlan said. "What I care about is on-base percentage, batting average and scoring runs. That's my job."

As a leadoff hitter, Coghlan wants to be a run producer. He recently turned 25, and he said as his body continues to mature, and as he gains strength, he feels his home run totals will increase.

Interim manager Edwin Rodriguez managed Coghlan in the Minor Leagues, and he sees the left-handed-hitting outfielder as being capable of cashing in with some home runs on pitcher mistakes.

"I think he can run into some pitches, and he will hit them the way he did last night," Rodriguez said. "He makes consistently hard contract through the season. Once in a while, when he gets one belt high, he will get that slightly uppercut swing, and he will hit some homers. When he was playing for me in the Minor Leagues, I put a grade on him. Power, I was saying, 12-15 homers."

Stanton persevering through growing pains

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Adjusting to life in the big leagues usually requires a transition period. There are few instant success stories.

In 2006, Hanley Ramirez made a rather seamless switch from Double-A, and he won National League Rookie of the Year honors.

Currently, Marlins rookie Mike Stanton is going through some growing pains. The organization is mindful that the slugger is 20 years old. When Ramirez won rookie honors, he was 22.

Called up on June 8, Stanton is batting .215. But on Monday night, he showed why the team is so high on his raw talent.

In the eighth inning, Stanton uncorked on an 87-mph Ryota Igarashi split-finger fastball and delivered a three-run homer in the Marlins' 10-3 win over the Mets at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

The homer was Stanton's second for the Marlins.

"I made sure I was ready for the fastball, and he threw me a changeup or a split," Stanton said. "It worked out."

One of the Marlins' most highly touted prospects in years, Stanton is dealing with some predictable first-month struggles. He recently was switched from seventh in the lineup to the eighth spot.

Even though his numbers aren't on par with how he hit at Double-A, Stanton is making the most of his hits. He has 14 hits in 65 at-bats, with 13 RBIs.

"If it wasn't for that, I'd be in big trouble," Stanton said. "Good thing [the hits] come at the right time, I guess."

Both of his home runs had been significant. His first career shot was a grand slam off Tampa Bay's Matt Garza on June 18. His first home run came on his 33rd MLB at-bat, and his second came 32 after that.

At Double-A, he averaged a home run every 9.14 at-bats.

Based on his immense natural ability, it should be a matter of time before Stanton figures out life in the big leagues.

His Double-A numbers were so remarkable that they earned him a promotion sooner than many envisioned. For the Jacksonville Suns, Stanton batted .313 with 21 homers and 52 RBIs in 53 games.

"I'm going with the flow, nothing to worry about," Stanton said.

Given a day off last Sunday because he was struggling, interim manager Edwin Rodriguez was impressed with how Stanton "bounced back" with the home run and some solid plays in the field.

"It's always good to see a three-run homer, but to see the way he bounced back was good," Rodriguez said. "We made him very aware of the situation. He is not a normal No. 8 hitter, but in this lineup, he has to hit No. 8. We want him being more aggressive a little bit, because the pitcher is behind him. He has to expand the zone, but swing at pitches in the strike zone."