The Marlins were content for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to have his glove do most of his talking. But they also felt the 24-year-old could swing the bat a bit, and now he’s finally proving it.
Hechavarria extended his hitting streak to 10 games Wednesday with a single and a double, raising his average for the month to .436.
“We’ve all said this is a kid who’s going to hit,” manager Mike Redmond said.
Hechavarria, who began the month with a .203 average, has raised it to .236.
“I’ve been working on staying closed and driving the ball to right field,” Hechavarria said through a translator. “I’ve been working with [hitting coach] Tino Martinez, and I’ve been applying what he’s been teaching me.”
Hechavarria said he’s “more calm at the plate,” which has helped him.
Jon Rauch didn’t leave much of a lasting impression as a reliever during his brief and largely forgettable stay with the Marlins. But the tall and tattooed Rauch might have made a significant contribution in a way that went unnoticed.
Marcell Ozuna said it was Rauch who improved his throwing accuracy by changing the way the outfielder grips the ball. Rauch told Ozuna he would achieve better results if he threw a two-seamer with the palm of his hand “behind the seams.” That slight adjustment flattened Ozuna’s throws.
“The ball was diving before,” Ozuna said. “Jon Rauch told me to grab the ball with the seams behind. I saw the difference right away. The ball went straight, straight, straight — no movement.”
Ozuna recorded his eighth outfield assist on Tuesday when he threw out the Braves’ Chris Johnson at the plate. Only Arizona’s Gerardo Parra and Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez — with nine each — have more outfield assists.
Rauch isn’t the only person Ozuna credits with helping him defensively and with throwing, in particular. He said Marlins minor-league outfield coordinator Tarrik Brock instilled in him the need to always hit the cutoff man, and Marlins front office assistant and Hall of Fame outfielder Andre Dawson improved his footwork.
“Before, I made a lot of mistakes when I threw because I threw high, and the ball had a lot of movement,” Ozuna said. “I worked on that during the offseason in winter ball, and then Rauch told me how to grip the ball to make it flat.”
• Thursday: No game.
• Friday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.55 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-6, 2.45), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (5-5, 2.83) vs. Nationals RHP Dan Haren (4-10, 6.00), 7:15 p.m. Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: Following Thursday’s off day, the Marlins will face a familiar foe in Strasburg when they kick off a three-game set against Washington. Strasburg has gone 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 10 career starts against the Marlins. The Marlins have gone 1-5 against the Nationals this season.