7/9/2013 12:30 A.M. ET
Hechavarria's bat matching defensive prowess
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Adeiny Hechavarria's stellar defense sometimes makes it easy to overlook his struggles at the plate. His powerful throwing arm and his range at shortstop more than make up for the rookie's batting average, which was below .200 for most of the 2013 season, although it's been above the Mendoza Line since June 15.
Perhaps Hechavarria's lowest point came when his average dipped to .176 following a 7-2 loss to the Phillies on June 3. But in 109 at-bats since, Hechavarria is a changed man at the plate.
He is batting .294 since June 4 with nine RBIs and nine multi-hit games, raising his average to .225. He has been especially hot as of late, batting .351 (13-for-37) in his past 10 contests.
"Although a lot of the year, he's struggled offensively, his defense has been lights-out," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "The offense is something he's worked on a lot. He's working hard and starting to see some results of the hard work."
Going into Monday's game, he owns a career-best seven-game hitting streak, which he extended with a run-scoring single in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. His past two hits have proven critical, giving the Marlins a 1-0 lead on Saturday and tying Sunday's game at 1.
One area where Redmond feels Hechavarria will improve is plate discipline. Hechavarria has walked only 14 times in 279 appearances, and his 5 percent walk rate is third-worst among Marlins with at least 190 plate appearances.
"From what I see, he just continues to need at-bats," Redmond said. "Just working counts and when to be aggressive and when to take some pitches."
As Hechavarria has heated up offensively, he has continued his strong defensive play. The 24-year-old ranked second among National League shortstops entering Monday with a .986 fielding percentage. He has committed only two errors in his past 173 chances.
"When he does put it all together, this kid's an All-Star," Redmond said. "I think the beauty of Hech is that he's been able to really separate his offense and defense."
The Marlins are 19-14 since May 31 after posting a 13-41 record to begin the season. While multiple factors have contributed to Miami's recent success, Hechavarria's bat has played a key role in the team's turnaround.
"His swing is good," Redmond said. "It is fun to see him go up there and get some hits, because I know each one of those hits that he gets is a big boost for his confidence."
Hatcher optioned after Monday's marathon game
MIAMI -- The Marlins optioned right-handed reliever Chris Hatcher to Triple-A New Orleans following Monday's 7-1 loss to the Braves in 14 innings. The move was motivated by Miami's use of almost every relief pitcher in the series opener against Atlanta. The club has not announced a corresponding move.
"It was not an ideal situation, but we need an arm for tomorrow," manager Mike Redmond said. "In case anything happens tomorrow, we're covered."
Hatcher returns to the Zephyrs after one day in the Majors. He was recalled from New Orleans on Sunday as Chris Valaika was sent to the 60-day disabled list.
Hatcher took the loss against the Braves on Monday. He gave up six runs (five earned) on four hits, walked three and struck out one in the top of the 14th.
Redmond encouraged by road trip despite losses
MIAMI -- The Marlins have been one of the hottest teams in baseball since May 31, posting a .576 winning percentage (19-14), which is tied with the Pirates for the best in the National League during that span.
Miami's red-hot stretch has more than doubled its win total and included series victories against playoff contenders Atlanta, St. Louis and San Diego.
Even though the Marlins ended their recent road trip with a 2-4 record, Miami manager Mike Redmond was encouraged.
"I loved the way we played in Atlanta," Redmond said. "We went into a place where we had to play really well, and I think we did that with the exception of the first night.
"But then we went into St. Louis, and the first night, we just played OK. We were sloppy. We didn't play our best baseball. And then we had what I thought [were] two excellent chances to win those other two games."
Catcher Jeff Mathis added: "We were right there. We just missed making that big play, getting that big hit, getting that big out."
Had it not been for several lapses in the field, the Marlins might have easily ended their six-game road trip against two first-place teams with a winning record.
Miami committed two errors and failed to field several balls cleanly in an 11-3 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday.
In the Braves' four-run sixth, Derek Dietrich couldn't corral a Freddie Freeman grounder to second, and reliever Ryan Webb could not retire Jordan Schafer or Andrelton Simmons on back-to-back grounders to the mound that took weird hops.
In Saturday's 5-4 loss to St. Louis, Giancarlo Stanton's throw from right field on a Shane Robinson ground ball skipped under cutoff man Logan Morrison's glove, allowing Jon Jay to score the winning run.
The deciding run in Sunday's 3-2 loss was scored when Carlos Beltran ran home while Dietrich and Morrison had Matt Holliday stuck in a rundown between first and second on a steal attempt.
"We made a couple of mistakes, but we were right there," Redmond said. "Sure, at times, we're a little bit sloppy in situations that cost us. But I like the fact that we're still in these games, and we're still competing. We're still battling."
Coghlan may soon be cleared for baseball activities
MIAMI -- Chris Coghlan will meet with a doctor on Thursday to determine if he is able to resume baseball activities.
"He's just hanging on," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He's just resting. I think he's going to go back and see the doctor. If the doctor gives him the OK, then I think he'll be able to be cleared to start back with some baseball activities."
Coghlan, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 9, went to see a spine specialist in Dallas on June 17. He was told that the injury would not require surgery and that he needed to rest his back.
The 28-year-old initially felt discomfort in his right calf, and the Marlins placed him on the DL with right calf nerve irritation. However, an MRI on June 10 revealed that Coghlan had suffered an apparent lower back strain.
The back injury has sidelined Coghlan since June 8, a day that capped a stellar 18-game stretch for the outfielder. He earned an everyday spot in the lineup on May 18, and he did not disappoint, batting .343 (23-for-67) with nine RBIs and four runs scored in 73 plate appearances.
Despite missing a month, Coghlan is still tied for second among Marlins with three triples, tied for third with nine doubles, third with a .742 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and fifth in both batting average (.277) and on-base percentage (.326).
• The Marlins have signed 26 of their picks from the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. The deadline to sign selections is Friday. No. 6 overall pick Colin Moran and third-round selection Ben DeLuzio remain unsigned as of Monday.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.