4/3/2014 12:03 P.M. ET
Hechavarria striving to be well-rounded
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Missing the last week of Spring Training may turn out to be a blessing for Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
The 24-year-old was sidelined with a tight groin. He went exactly one week without seeing game action until he was in the Opening Day lineup on Monday.
The brief setback came after a strong Spring Training for the flashy fielding shortstop.
"I know it was probably a blessing that he was off those final five or six days of Spring Training, making sure that he is healthy," manager Mike Redmond said. "Obviously, he was. I've liked what I've seen from him. he had a great spring."
Defensively, Miami envisions Hechavarria as a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop. He made his first acrobatic play on Opening Day, robbing Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki of a hit by making a leaping catch.
At the plate is where he has had questions.
A year ago, he batted .227 and led the team in games played (148) and at-bats (543).
In Spring Training, he worked with hitting coach Frank Menechino, and he made strides hitting the ball up the middle and to right field. Hechavarria batted .319 (15-for-47) in Grapefruit League play.
"He's worked hard with Frankie," Redmond said. "He's been working on driving the ball the other way, and staying on pitches. At the same time, too, he's working on when he gets the ball middle-in, he's working on pulling them. The key to his success is what we talked about last year, him trying to drive the ball to right field. That really is the key."
Stanton keeps Marlins' bullpen on alert
MIAMI -- It's not often relievers in the bullpen take cover on a home run. But not every home run packs the turbo-charged boost of a Giancarlo Stanton blast.
On Wednesday night, Stanton ripped a laser shot to right field that not only made it over the wall at Marlins Park, it caromed off an auxiliary strip, and almost bounced and hit Mike Dunn.
Dunn and A.J. Ramos were sitting next to each other, and both were in the process of jumping and giving a fist pump because they knew the ball was gone.
"Then, I was like, 'This might come back,'" Dunn said. "I kind of glanced, and was like, 'Ahhh.' I went back and looked at the home run this morning. If I didn't move, I think it would have hit me. It would have been really close to hitting me if I didn't move."
Dunn estimates the back of the bullpen to the front is about 15-20 feet.
Stanton's immense power continues to impress the media, fans and those in the game.
"When he hits a home run and kind of gives it a step, that ball has a chance to leave ballparks, like out of everything," Dunn said.
On Wednesday night, Stanton's home run off Colorado's Jordan Lyles gained notice because of how hard it was hit to the opposite field. Not many right-handed hitters can drive a ball the other way like the 24-year-old.
Such shots could be dangerous in the Marlins' bullpen, because balls can ricochet off the back facing. To protect the video strip above the wall, they've installed a net lining. Dunn said balls spring off that strip like a trampoline.
Stanton has traditionally struggled in April, but he is off to a hot start.
Wednesday's homer was the earliest in a season of his career. Last year, he went without a blast until April 27, and he added two more on April 28.
In 2012, Stanton's first home run came on April 29. And in 2011, he connected for the first time on April 21.
If can learn to use all fields, like slugger Miguel Cabrera, Stanton could emerge as one of the most fear all-around hitters in the game.
"You look at Miggy, he's got all-field power," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Giancarlo, if he can hit the ball the other way like that, wow. Not only would his batting average go up a lot, you'd be talking about the best hitter in baseball, if he can do that."
Along with belting an impressive home run, Stanton also reached a milestone on Wednesday. The slugger had three RBIs, giving him 300 in his career.
Dobbs approaching pinch-hit milestone
MIAMI -- Greg Dobbs is close to joining some exclusive company.
The Marlins veteran already holds the distinction of being the Major League's active leader with 96 career pinch-hits. With four more, he would be just the 12th player in the history of the game with at least 100.
"It means I've been able to persevere," Dobbs said. "It means I've never taken anything for granted. It means hard work and diligence pays off, and persevering through adversity."
Dobbs currently is tied with Dave Clark, Greg Norton and Gerald Perry for 12th all-time.
Reaching 100 will be a proud moment, but it will have added meaning if it helps the team win.
"It means a lot if I get it and we are able to win the game," Dobbs said. "If it is in a loss, it is going to be somewhat hollow."
In his third season with the Marlins, Dobbs delivered a single in his first pinch-hit chance of the season. It came in Monday's Opening Day victory over the Rockies.
Dobbs isn't the only standout pinch-hitter on the Marlins. His longtime friend, Reed Johnson, has 62, which is the second most among active players.
Johnson on Tuesday delivered a pinch-hit double in his first at-bat as a Marlin.
"I've always had a great amount of respect for Reed," Dobbs said. "We played on the same travel ball team growing up. We played against each other in high school. we've known each other for years. I have a great amount of respect for him, and the type of player he is."
• The surgery to Ed Lucas' left hand went as expected. A pin was inserted to help the fracture in his third metacarpal mend properly. Lucas broke his hand after being hit by a pitch late in Spring Training. He is expected to return around mid-May.