Adeiny Hechavarria has spent most of the season struggling to hit his weight. But after racing into third base on a ball hit into the gap in right-center Thursday, Hechavarria found himself leading the majors in triples with five.
“It benefits me to play here since it’s a big park,” Hechavarria said. “Whenever I get a hit to the corners or split the outfielders, I can make a triple with my speed.”
Three of Hechavarria’s triples have come at Marlins Park. Last season, in 126 at-bats with Toronto, Hechavarria didn’t have any triples. Juan Pierre holds the single-season Marlins record for triples with 13 in 2005.
“This kid’s a special player,” manager Mike Redmond said of the 24-year-old shortstop. “We knew going in there would be some growing pains with the bat.”
While Hechavarria has spent most of the season batting in the disadvantageous eighth spot, just in front of the pitcher, Redmond said he thinks he is better suited for the second spot. That’s where Hechavarria was positioned in Friday’s lineup.
“I’d like to keep him there and let him grow into the spot,” Redmond said.
That would suit Hechavarria just fine.
“In the second spot, I’ve hit there a lot,” he said. “Last year in Triple A, I hit there the whole time, and the year before I hit there as well. I’m used to batting there. The difference is you see fewer breaking pitches hitting second.”
Left-handed hitters are feasting on right-hander Steve Cishek, which Redmond said is a major reason why the Marlins closer has been struggling this season. But Cishek said he believes he’s also had his issues with right-handers.
On Thursday, Cishek gave up three runs in the 10th — two coming on Jay Bruce’s sharp single — as the Reds prevailed 5-3. Cishek’s record fell to 1-4 and his ERA entering Friday night’s game was 5.40.
But the disparity between right-handed hitters and left-handers is pronounced when it comes to Cishek. Right-handers are only hitting .125 against Cishek. Left-handers: .324 with a whopping OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of 1.012.
• First baseman Logan Morrison will play nine innings Saturday in an extended spring game before heading out on a rehab assignment. He’ll likely start at Single A Jupiter and advance to Double A before rejoining the Marlins.
• Starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (right shoulder inflammation) will pitch in a simulated game Monday.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (0-1, 3.31 ERA) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 5.63), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-5, 4.39) vs. Diamondbacks LHP Wade Miley (3-2, 3.75), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: Though he has yet to win this season, McCarthy pitched eight shutout innings in his last start and turned a 2-0 lead over to the bullpen before Heath Bell blew the save in the ninth. McCarthy has never faced the Marlins.