Ask Martin Prado which shortstop is better defensively — the Marlins’ Adeiny Hechavarria or Braves’ Andrelton Simmons — and he’ll shrug his shoulders.
“That’s a tough one,” said Prado, who has played alongside both players in the infield.
Simmons has won the Gold Glove award as the National League’s best shortstop each of the past two years. But Hechavarria is nipping at his heels. The two ranked 1-2 among NL shortstops in fielding percentage — Simmons at .994 and Hechavarria at .991 — going into their weekend series at Turner Field in Atlanta.
Entering Thursday, Hechavarria had gone 42 straight games without making an error, putting him within range of the team record for a shortstop (54 consecutive errorless games by Hanley Ramirez in 2009).
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Hechavarria has made just four errors all season.
According to Marlins infield coach Perry Hill, the league is taking notice.
“People are starting to ask more questions about Hechavarria,” Hill said of fellow coaches and managers. “They’re starting to notice and starting to ask more and more questions. Maybe the word’s out.”
The Gold Glove awards are determined by a combination of statistical formulas (25 percent) and votes submitted by coaches and managers (75 percent).
So what separates the two shortstops?
“For me, Adeiny is more reactive. He’s more flexible,” Prado said. “And Simmons is more knowledgeable and anticipates better. They’re both athletic. But Adeiny is more acrobatic.”
Hill said Hechavarria’s knowledge of the position has improved, too.
“He’s learned to move on counts,” Hill said. “So he’s putting himself in better position to catch all hit balls. We used to have to move him, and sometimes couldn’t get his attention. But I haven’t moved him in the last 15 to 20 games. He’s doing it on his own. He’s figured it out.”
REALMUTO OUT AGAIN
Catcher J.T. Realmuto sat out his second straight game due to a bone bruise on his glove hand caused by the constant pounding of pitches.
“It’s probably the glove I’m using,” Realmuto said. “The padding is so worn down on it. There’s no padding left. Over time, it’s kind of just gotten beat up.”
Realmuto said he expects to return to the lineup Friday.
▪ The Marlins are hoping Jarred Cosart can return to the rotation before the end of August.
Cosart has missed much of the season with vertigo due to an inner ear disorder. But he is scheduled to resume a throwing program Friday and could begin making rehab starts for Single A Jupiter in the near future.
“Now it’s just a matter of building him back up,” manager Dan Jennings said. “It would be great if [Cosart returned] sometime in August because we could use the depth.”
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (4-0, 2.13) at Atlanta Braves RHP Julio Teheran (7-6, 4.59), 7:35 p.m., Turner Field.
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (8-8, 3.71) at Atlanta Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-3, 5.40), 7:10 p.m., Turner Field.