Christian Yelich doesn’t regard himself as a power hitter. But he credits hitting coaches Barry Bonds and Frank Menechino for his uptick in home runs.
Yelich hit his 13th homer on Tuesday night, which puts him within striking distance of 20 with about a quarter of the season left. His previous season high: nine.
“It’s not like I’m hitting 30 homers a year,” Yelich said. “I broke double digits for the first time. So it’s not like a huge difference. But it’s definitely helping. I feel like I’ve been able to drive the ball a little more.”
Yelich said he spent time in the cage with Bonds and Menechino a couple of months ago, working exclusively on generating more pop.
“We worked on some stuff in there, I liked it and got a feel for it,” Yelich said. “The stance and the mechanics are the same. I’ve kept the same approach. It was more of a thought process that helped.”
Yelich hasn’t sacrificed average or on-base percentage for power, either. He brought a .316 batting average and career-high .385 on-base percentage into Thursday night. When Yelich singled on Wednesday, he extended his road streak of reaching base to 35 games in a row, a Marlins record.
Luis Castillo held the previous mark by reaching base in 33 road games in a row during the 2002 season.
RAMOS NOT READY YET
It is not certain whether A.J. Ramos will come off the disabled list Sunday, the first day he’s eligible. Manager Don Mattingly said Ramos will throw a simulated game Friday in Pittsburgh before any decision is made. Also uncertain: whether Ramos will return to the closer’s role.
“If he’s throwing the ball good, there’s no reason to think he shouldn’t be that guy,” Mattingly said.
But Mattingly said Ramos continues to deal with some swelling because of the hairline fracture in his right middle finger. If the Marlins don’t feel Ramos is able to throw back-to-back games, it might sway them to put him in a setup role until the finger is completely healed.
“That’s what we’ve got to try to find out,” Mattingly said.
Ramos said there’s much less pain and soreness in the finger now than there was when he landed on the DL.
“There’s a little swelling, but that’s expected,” Ramos said.
▪ Starting pitcher Adam Conley might not come off the DL on schedule.
“He’s kind of shut down for now,” Mattingly said. “They’ve had to shut him down a little bit, and usually when you start shutting guys down, then it takes a little while to get back.”
Mattingly doesn’t foresee any extended stay on the DL for the left-hander. But he said Conley continues to show swelling in his left third finger.
“He’s been to the doctor,” Mattingly said. “We’ve got to get the swelling out of there before he can start throwing.”
▪ The Marlins remain interested in former All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez, who was designated for assignment by Houston. If the Astros are unable to work out a deal for Gomez, they could release him as early as Saturday. If the Marlins don’t end up with Gomez, they could reach down to the minors and call up Xavier Scruggs, who is enjoying a strong season at Triple A New Orleans.
Mattingly said Scruggs has been discussed internally as an option to be a fourth outfielder.
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (9-8, 3.86 ERA) at Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (7-8, 3.25), 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP David Phelps (6-6, 2.48) at Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (3-0, 3.73), 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.