LOS ANGELES -- When he was a regular in the Marlins’ lineup Chris Coghlan liked to fashion himself as a more patient hitter, someone who had to be selective.
Now locked in as a bench player and pinch-hitter more regularly, though, the 27-year-old ex-National League Rookie of the Year is changing his approach and trying to be more aggressive.
The results have varied. Sunday, he came up with two outs in the seventh with runners in scoring position and quickly fell behind 0-2 before being rung up by third-base umpire Ron Kulpa for making a half swing on a Kensey Jansen pitch. Friday night, though, Coghlan delivered an important double and then scored what turned out to be the decisive run in the Marlins’ 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Dodgers. Saturday, he came out aggressive again, jumping on a 2-1 fastball for a single to right.
“It’s just something I’ve got to get adjusted to,” said Coghlan, who hasn’t started since April 28 and is now 5 for 15 in pinch-hit situations this season. “I just need to be more aggressive with strikes and just trust my eyes.
"I think it was maybe a week ago where I when I realized I needed to start doing that because I wasn’t having as much success as I wanted to. I was trying everything. It’s a role I don’t have a lot of experience in, but I’m trying to get better at it."
Coghlan said he has gotten the same “stay aggressive” advice from veterans Matt Diaz and Austin Kearns. When his agent, Scott Boras, told him he needed to do the same, Coghlan heeded the advice.
“It’s a tough role. I’ve been in it,” manager Mike Redmond said. “I know a lot of guys who have been in that. I know he’s used to getting consistent at-bats. He’s made the most of his opportunities. It was a huge at-bat in the game and a big factor in us winning [Friday]. Hitting off the bench is tough.”
The Marlins hope to have catcher Jeff Mathis back with the team Tuesday.
With three catchers already on the roster — and no healthy first basemen around aside from Greg Dobbs — it appears the Marlins will keep three catchers on the team. The team sent Kyle Skipworth to Triple A New Orleans after Sunday’s game.
“It’s been a challenge getting [Dobbs] a day off,’’ Redmond said. “[ Miguel] Olivo could go over there and play a game against a lefty. It gives us a little more flexibility.’’
Mathis has been hitting well in the minors. He went 3 for 11(.273) with a homer and six RBI in three games at Double A Jacksonville and went 4 for 14 (.286) with four RBI in four games at Single A Jupiter.
He’s playing his final two minor-league games Sunday and Monday at Triple A New Orleans.
After pitching like an All-Star in his first seven starts, Kevin Slowey finally had his first rough night as a Marlin on Saturday.
“It was kind of a battle,” said Slowey, who came in with the seventh-best ERA (1.81) among National League starters but gave up a season-high 11 hits, five earned runs and three walks in just 4 2/3 innings.
“I felt like I made some good pitches that they were able to fight off into the outfield, and when I left the ball over the plate they hit it pretty well,” Slowey said.
“It’s how it goes sometimes. I can’t change my approach, can’t change anything major.”
• The three outfield assists — by Diaz to third base, Justin Ruggiano’s throw to the plate and right fielder Marcell Ozuna’s throw to second — in Saturday’s loss marked the first time in Marlins history all three starting outfielders recorded an assist in the same game.
• Tuesday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-4, 3.72 ERA) vs. Cincinnati Reds RHP Homer Bailey (1-3, 3.83), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: The Marlins, who open a nine-game homestand on Tuesday, went 1-3 against the Reds from April 18-21 in Cincinnati. They went 2-1 against the Reds at Marlins Park last season.