Chris Coghlan doesn’t want to be like them. He doesn’t want to become known as a Rookie of the Year who either failed to live up to his initial promise or flamed out entirely.
But it’s staring him in the face. Unless Coghlan turns it around soon, it could happen.
“What is it? Three years now? Four?” said Coghlan, trying to recall when it was exactly that he won the prestigious award.
It was 2009.
It doesn’t seem like only yesterday anymore when Coghlan went on a late-season binge after being called up from the minors in May, hitting .385 in August and .390 in September.
He won the coveted award, receiving more votes than Andrew McCutchen and Tommy Hanson, among others.
But it started unraveling for Coghlan the following July when he injured a knee while putting a shaving cream pie in the face of a teammate following a game-winning hit.
Coghlan had surgery. Then he tried to come back too soon, making matters worse.
“When I got hurt again, I don’t even say it’s another injury,” he said. “It’s really the same injury. It’s just that it never fully healed, and I came back too quick. That’s my fault and something I’ve learned.”
Coghlan had a second surgery in 2011 to fix the damage.
He started last season with the Marlins as a fourth outfielder, hit .140 and was demoted in June, never to return.
“Last year I was injury-free the whole year, but I didn’t produce as the fourth outfielder,” Coghlan said. “That was an adjustment for me. I didn’t do well to start, and then they started making moves because we lost. That’s just what happens.”
Following the season, he traveled to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball, where he worked on his swing and played some second base, as well as in the outfield. He will take part in outfield drills this spring, but also will work with infield coach Perry Hill at second base when time permits.
Coghlan said he also studied video and noticed some bad habits that developed in his swing because of the injuries. He corrected those, he said, and already senses improvement.
But now he will have to prove it.
“It’s all about production, and I just need to produce more,” he said. “I’m bringing my stick wherever I go, and you just tell me what glove to wear. I’m open to whatever [position]. I’m planning to play the outfield until they tell me otherwise, but I’m going to be ready no matter what.
“I’m excited this year to turn a lot of heads. I’m confident that I will this year, and then people will write my redemption story.”Notes: