ATLANTA -- Gorkys Hernandez had just walked into the Indianapolis Indians clubhouse Tuesday afternoon when his manager Dean Treanor told him he was probably going to be traded to the Marlins. An hour later, it happened.
"It was great news for me," said Hernandez, a 24-year old Venezuelan outfielder who has now been traded three times in his career -- by the Tigers to the Braves for Edgar Renteria, by the Braves to the Pirates for Nate McLouth and finally at the trade deadline by Pittsburgh to the Marlins for Gaby Sanchez.
"I was surprised a little bit. But after that I was happy. It's a new team. There's a lot of opportunity for me to get a job here."
Hernandez, known for his speed (he said he's been clocked at 3.9, 4.0 on his way to first base) and above average defense, was given a familiar number upon arriving in the Marlins clubhouse -- 2, the number Hanley Ramirez used to wear. Hernandez didn't know it was Ramirez's number until some of his new teammates told him.
"The guys said, 'Hey that's Hanley Ramirez's number,'" Hernandez said. "I said, 'I'll try to do the same thing as Hanley Ramirez.'"
For now, the Marlins want to see if Hernandez, who turns 25 on Sept. 7, can help fill a hole in the outfield. Although he's not in the starting lineup Wednesday against the Braves, Ozzie Guillen and Larry Beinfest both said Hernandez will get a long look in center.
In 21 games with the Pirates this season primarily as a defensive replacement, Hernandez played in left 13 times, right field six times and center field twice. He made 23 putouts without an error for the Pirates. In seven minor league seasons, Hernandez played 630 of his 684 games in center field with a career fielding percentage of .982. He has 58 career assists. Playing at spacious Marlins Park is a challenge Hernandez said he's looking forward to.
"I see on the TV the stadium has a lot of room for the outfield. That's what I like," Hernandez said. "That's good for me. I like running to the ball."
Hitting is where Hernandez is a question mark. He was just 2 for 24 (.083) for the Pirates this season. But in Triple A over the past two seasons, he hit .274 with three homers, 65 RBI and 34 stolen bases (50 attempts) in 193 games. Bunting is a big part of his game.
"I'm comfortable with my speed, very comfortable when I bunt. I can run to first base fast," Hernandez said. "I'm just trying to be consistent at the plate [in the big leagues], use my hands and use the whole field. The field in Miami is a big one. If I use the field middle away I can have a lot room for running for doubles, triples, I don't know even maybe a couple inside the park [home runs]."
Asked if he's as fast or faster than Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes, two of baseball's leaders in stolen bases, Hernandez smiled.
"They're pretty fast. I'm kind of the same thing," he said. "When a team has speed guys you have a good chance to make a lot of runs."
Hernandez, who played winter ball in Venezuela with Carlos Zambrano, said his wife is expecting the family's second child in September. He already has a daughter.
> Marlins (47-56): 1. Emilio Bonifacio 2B, 2. Donnie Murphy 3B, 3. Jose Reyes SS, 4. Carlos Lee 1B, 5. Greg Dobbs LF, 6. Bryan Petersen CF, 7. John Buck C, 8. Scott Cousins RF, 9. Wade LeBlanc P.
> Braves (59-44): 1. Reed Johnson RF, 2. Martin Prado LF, 3. Jason Heyward CF, 4. Chipper Jones 3B, 5. Freddie Freeman 1B, 6. David Ross C, 7. Dan Uggla 2B, 8. Paul Janish SS, 9. Ben Sheets P.