After striking out 10 times during the Marlins' opening six-game road trip, Giancarlo Stanton on Monday night displayed the kind of patience the team wants him to have this season, drawing a career-high three walks against the Braves.
It's the first time this season an opponent didn't give Stanton anything to hit according to skipper Mike Redmond. Stanton, hitting just .174 (4 for 23) with no homers or RBI, did strike out once looking. But the effort was a sign he's being more selective and waiting to swing at the pitches he wants to swing at.
Stanton estimated he saw "probably two" pitches he wanted to swing at Monday. Stanton saw 21 pitches Monday in all. He fouled off two and took another five for strikes. Only two of the pitches in the strike zone were fastballs.
"He just has to continue to prepare himself and be ready to hit," Redmond said. "Somebody is going to make a mistake and he's going to make someone pay. Once he does that should alleviate any stress he has.
"Last night was good. They threw him some pitches where he could have swung and he laid off. That shows progress. There's going to come a point where he finally relaxes and says I'm not worried about getting a hit or hitting a home run and when that happens it will all come together."
Adeiny Hechavarria's sliding, behind-the-head catch in Monday's 2-0 loss to the Braves earned top Web Gem honors on ESPN's Baseball Tonight telecast.
Hechavarria, who ran a long way from his shortstop position and into foul territory in shallow left field to make the grab, said Tuesday he didn't know if he had a chance at first to make the grab but hustled after it anyway.
"On my way to it I saw I could reach it, but when I slid the air took it and I completely lost it," said Hechavarria, who swung his glove behind his head before making the no-look grab. "When I caught it I said 'Wow! I can't believe it.' One of the best catches I've ever made."
NEW SOD PLAYS FAST
Even tough he got a chance to play a few games at home during the World Baseball Classic last month, Stanton said Tuesday he's still getting adjusted to the new grass that was installed at Marlins Park during the off-season.
"Super fast," Stanton said when asked to give his assessment of the the new Tifway 419 Bermuda grass in the outfield that replaced the Celebration Bermuda grass, which began to brown in certain patches during the park's inaugural season.
"It's almost like astroturf fast. Doesn't remind me of any grass field I've played on before."
The outfield grass at Marlins Park, the same as the one used at Sun Life Stadium, is different than what it is being used in the infield and in foul territory. That sod is known as Platinum TE Paspalum. But it too plays fast.
"Different than last year for sure," second baseman Donovan Solano said. "The grass was quick, faster. I felt the difference. I don't know if its the same as Washington or Atlanta or any other new stadium. Hechevarria told me it was faster in Toronto because of the turf."
The Marlins would eventually like to use the Platinum TE Paspalum grass throughout the park. There simply wasn't enough available for the start of the season.
Stadium officials have brought in special lights from Holland -- similar to the ones used in European soccer leagues -- to make sure this grass doesn't begin decay. Redmond said Tuesday he expects the team will play more games with the roof open this season because park officials want the grass to grow.
The Marlins played just eight of their 81 home games last season with the roof open. They went 4-4 in those games.
> Atlanta (6-1): 1. B.J. Upton CF, 2 Andrelton Simmons SS, 3. Justin Upton LF, 4. Evan Gattis C, 5. Dan Uggla 2B, 6. Juan Francisco 3B, 7. Chris Johnson 1B, 8. Reed Johnson RF, 9. RHP Kris Medlen.
> Marlins (1-6): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Chris Coghlan CF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Placido Polanco 3B, 5. Greg Dobbs 1B, 6. Donovan Solano 2B, 7. Rob Brantly C, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. LHP Wade LeBlanc.