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2 posts from May 11, 2013

May 11, 2013

Coghlan adjusting to pinch-hitter role; Marlins will likely keep 3 catchers when Mathis returns Tuesday

LOS ANGELES -- When he was a regular in the Marlins lineup Chris Coghlan liked to fashion himself as a more patient hitter, someone who had to be selective.

Now locked in as a bench player and pinch hitter more regularly, though, the 27-year old former NL Rookie of the Year is changing his approach at the plate and trying to be more aggressive.

Friday night, he delivered an important double and then scored what turned out to be the decisive run in the Marlins 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Dodgers. Coghlan came out swinging, fouling off his first pitch before connecting on the double.

"It's just something I've got to get adjusted to," said Coghlan, who hasn't started since April 28th and is now 4-for-14 in pinch-hit situations this season. "I just need to be more aggressive with strikes and just trust my eyes. I think it was maybe a week ago where I when I realized I needed to start doing that because I wasn't having as much success as I wanted to. I was trying everything. It's a role I don't have a lot of experience in, but I'm trying to get better at it."

Coghlan said he's gotten the same stay aggressive advice from veterans Matt Diaz and Austin Kearns. When his agent Scott Boras told him he needed to do the same, Coghlan heeded the advice.

"It's a tough role. I've been in it," manager Mike Redmond said. "I know a lot of guys who have been in that. I know he used to getting consistent at-bats. He's made the most of his opportunities. It was a huge at-bat in the game and a big factor in us winning that ballgame. Hitting off the bench is tough. You have to have a short memory and move on."

> Sunday starter Tom Koehler said he won't have friends or family in attendance when he makes his first start of the season. His family back home in Newark is having a barbeque for Mother's Day.

"I think the whole family is going to be there huddled around an iPad," Koehler said. "I'm sure if it wasn't Mother's Day then they probably would be out here to see it. Hopefully it won't be my last so they get to see a bunch. They'll be watching and supporting me the same way if they were here."

Koehler hasn't started since he faced Triple A Round Rock on April 14th. He went six innings and gave up just one hit -- a home run in a loss.

INJURY UPDATES

> The Marlins hope to have catcher Jeff Mathis back with the team on Tuesday. He will catch a pair of games in Triple A New Orleans on Sunday and Monday. With three catchers already on the roster -- and no healthy first baseman around aside from Greg Dobbs -- it appears the Marlins will keep three catchers on the team and just send Kyle Skipworth back down to the minors.

"Miguel Olivo can pinch hit, play first," Redmond said. "The scenario right now is [Greg] Dobbs doesn't mind playing everyday. But we don't really have another first baseman with [Chris] Valaika going out. It's been a challenge getting [Dobbs] a day off. Olivo could go over there and play a game against a lefty. It gives us a little more flexibility."

> Outfielder Austin Kearns, out on bereavement, could end up on the restricted list if he isn't ready to return soon.

> First baseman Logan Morrison will start playing defense next week in a game. He's been serving as a designated hitter in extended spring training play.

> First baseman Casey Kotchman will start his rehab in the next three or four days. He's been doing all baseball activities, Redmond said.

> Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi threw a 40-pitch bullpen Friday. He will throw another bullpen on Monday.

> Pitcher Henderson Alvarez played catch for 10 minutes from 75 feet on Saturday. He is just re-starting his comeback trail.

Cishek recorded first 1-2-3 save of the season Friday

LOS ANGELES -- Closer Steve Cishek has endured his share of struggles this season, but he finally recorded his first 1-2-3 save of the season in Friday night's 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Dodgers.

Cishek got the benefit of a borderline called strike three on the outside corner on pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke to open the ninth. He then got Carl Crawford to bounce out to first and struckout Nick Punto looking to end the game.

Cishek has had just six chances to pitch with the lead in the ninth this season -- and that's something Redmond said has affected him.

"I think early on he had a few struggles with lefties. He wasn't in a lot of save situations, we were pitching him in tie games, maybe putting him a little out of his role," Redmond said. "At the same time he gave up some hits and home runs. But he's working hard on locating his fastball and getting the ball in on lefties. He's done a nice job making adjustments. That was a nice ninth inning against some good hitters."

Cishek said he's changed his approach in his throwing program a bit. In his 14 appearances this season, he's had a perfectly clean inning just four times. He's given up a walk or a hit every other time and has surrendered a run five times.

"I've been leaving the ball up and that's when I've gotten in trouble," Cishek said. "My main focus has been trying to throw everything hard at the knees and whatever happens, happens."