7/22/2014 11:58 P.M. ET
Yelich named Marlins' Heart and Hustle Award winner
By Joe Frisaro and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Christian Yelich on Wednesday will celebrate the one-year anniversary of his MLB debut. Already, the 22-year-old has gained the respect of players who made their impacts on the game well before he arrived.
On Tuesday, Yelich was named the Marlins' 2014 Heart and Hustle Award winner, as selected by the MLB Players Alumni Association.
The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.
"It really is an honor when your peers notice you're playing the game the right way, and going about your business night after night," Yelich said.
A first-round Draft pick in 2010, Yelich became the Marlins' regular left fielder last July 23, and he's currently leading off.
"He is the type of player who has an impact both on and off the field," said Carl Pavano, member of the Marlins' 2003 World Series championship team and current Marlins analyst with FOX Sports Florida.
The winner from all 30 clubs' nominees will be announced on Nov. 18 at the 15th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City.
"Playing the game the right way, and playing the game hard," Yelich said. "It's an honor to be mentioned with some of those other guys that were chosen for their respective organizations."
Valdespin providing spark to Marlins from the start
ATLANTA -- Three games is certainly a small sample size, but Jordany Valdespin already is bringing some energy to the Marlins at second base and at the plate.
The left-handed-hitting infielder did not start on Tuesday because Atlanta started southpaw Mike Minor. So Donovan Solano got the start at second base.
But in three games since being called up from Triple-A New Orleans, Valdespin is 3-for-11 (.273) with a .333 on-base percentage. He delivered a double off Julio Teheran in Monday's 3-1 win in 10 innings. He's also shown the ability to execute sacrifice bunts from the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
"I've been happy with the way he's played," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's giving us good at-bats, and playing good defense. You can hit-and-run with him. You can do a lot of different things with him. This is an opportunity for him to maybe re-establish himself. Hopefully, he's a big spark for us and he continues to do what he's doing. I'm impressed with the way that he's played."
With the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching, the Marlins have been searching for a starting pitcher and a second baseman. Valdespin is getting an opportunity to see if he can be an answer.
"This is a good team, with young guys and veteran guys," Valdespin said. "We've got a good team, too.
"I'm here to help in any situation they want. I can play outfield. I can play second. I try to bring energy to the team, and be emotional, and at the same time, play the game the right way."
Heaney flirts with perfection before losing
Marlins No. 1 prospect Andrew Heaney took a perfect game into the seventh inning Tuesday for Triple-A New Orleans, only to see his bid for history quickly unravel. He ultimately took the loss as Iowa defeated New Orleans, 1-0.
Heaney, ranked No. 24 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, retired the first 18 batters. He struck out seven of them and allowed only three balls to leave the infield.
But Heaney's perfect game came to an end when Matt Szczur led off the seventh inning with a single. Brett Jackson followed with another single before Heaney whiffed top Cubs prospect Javier Baez. He then issued back-to-back walks, forcing home what proved to be the winning run. A double play helped him escape the jam, but the damage had been done.
In seven innings, Heaney struck out eight, walked two and gave up two hits. He threw 86 pitches and, despite his excellent start to the game, has now lost his last five decisions.
Tuesday was Heaney's third start since returning to New Orleans after a brief stint with the Marlins. In 16 games in the Minor Leagues this season, he is 7-4 with a 2.89 ERA. He has struck out 95 batters and walked 20 in 90 1/3 innings.
• Reliever Kevin Gregg (elbow) continues to rest, and he's not yet progressed to throwing. Second baseman Derek Dietrich (right wrist) has not resumed baseball activities.
• The Marlins will be looking to keep catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia fresh in the second half, so they will be using backup Jeff Mathis more. On Tuesday night, with the Braves starting lefty Mike Minor, Mathis started.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.