Marlins manager Mike Redmond has always envisioned shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria hitting somewhere at the top of the lineup — either first or second.
The 24-year-old shortstop, off to a red-hot start, still has a lot to prove before he permanently solidifies a spot there. But with veteran second baseman Rafael Furcal still trying to fight his way back from a hamstring injury (he will begin extended spring training on Monday and probably won’t be back with the big-league team until the end of the month), Hechavarria has an opportunity to make an impression over the next few weeks.
On Saturday, Hechavarria hit leadoff for the second night in a row. How long will Redmond ride with Hechavarria in the top spot? Probably until he does something to move himself out.
Redmond’s original plan was to have Furcal and Christian Yelich hit first and second, respectively. But Hechavarria’s hot start — the second-best start to a season in Marlins history — is giving Redmond something to think about.
“It’s just really a matter of when the time comes where Hech is patient enough, sees enough pitches and gets on base enough that he solidifies his spot up at the top of the order,” Redmond said. “Maybe it’s now. We’ll see. But definitely, what he’s been able to do has been impressive.”
With his career-high, four-hit game Friday, Hechavarria put himself right behind Emilio Bonifacio for the second-most productive start in Marlins history. Bonifacio had 14 hits through five games. Hechavarria had 11 entering Saturday and actually was tied with Bonifacio, now with the Cubs, for the best batting average in the National League.
“We’re giving guys opportunities to hit in spots where maybe they weren’t anticipating and see what they can do,” Redmond said. “Ultimately, somebody is going to run with that, take advantage of it and make me put them in there every day. That’s the key.”
• Redmond said there is no timetable for when the Marlins plan to have Furcal back. But he did say Furcal would spend this week at Single A Jupiter preparing himself for a minor-league rehab assignment.
A WRECKING BALL?
Brad Hand picked up his first big-league save — and first since high school — with three innings of relief in Friday’s 8-2 victory. But what is Hand hearing about following the achievement? The song he has chosen to play when he comes in from the bullpen: Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.
“I had a few fans tell me on Twitter, ‘Are you serious with that walk-up song?’ ” Hand said Saturday. “I don’t know. It says I came in like a wrecking ball.”
Reliever A.J. Ramos, who enters to Kanye West’s Power, said he and the rest of the Marlins’ bullpen got a good chuckle out of hearing Hand’s song choice for the first time Friday.
• Maybe Hand can switch it to something from the punk pop band New Found Glory. As it turns out, the band’s often-shirtless bass player, Ian Grushka, is a huge Marlins fan and is close friends with three members of the pitching staff: Tom Koehler, Dan Jennings and Steve Cishek.
“It started in 2011 when I was in Triple A,” Cishek said. “He sent me a tweet. My wife grew up a huge New Found Glory fan, and I didn’t know who he was at first. But she started freaking out. We met him in Sun Life Stadium one night, and then in the offseason in 2011 he was playing Boston so he left us tickets to go to a show and got Marissa and her brother to come with us.”
Grushka, originally from Coral Springs, collects game-used items from the players. And Jennings said that Grushka sent him, Cishek and Koehler a guitar and guitar picks with custom photos on it.
“I’m sure he’s got my spikes,” Cishek said. “He might even have a jock strap.”
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. San Diego Padres RHP Ian Kennedy (0-1, 5.40), 1:10 p.m., FSNF.
• Monday: Off day.