« Colin Moran injured, Brian Bogusevic to Triple A, and Mike Redmond backs off replay challenge | Main | ESPN Stats & info says Stanton blast traveled 484-feet, longest in Marlins Park history »

Red-hot Hechavarria hitting leadoff vs. Padres Friday

Do you know who is leading the National League in hitting?

If you answered former Marlin Emilio Bonifacio, you are correct. He's hitting .688 (11 for 17) in four games for the Cubs.

Adeiny Hechavarria isn't that hot at the plate. But he's pretty close.

Hechavarria, who hit .227 in his first full season in the majors last year, is 7-for-14 (.500) with four runs scored and three RBI entering Friday night's series opener against the Padres at Marlins Park.

Skipper Mike Redmond has given Christian Yelich a rest so Hechavarria will be batting leadoff. Hechavarria has some experience hitting leadoff. He did so in 21 games last season and hit .205. But he made 90 of his starts batting either seventh or eighth.

Veteran Reed Johnson is getting his first start of the season in left field. 

So what has helped Hechavarria look better at the plate this season? A tip from hitting coach Frank Menechino regarding hand placement.

“In spring training he said he saw me too tight, that I was a good stance, but my hands were too close to my body,” Hechavarria said. “[Menechino] said to try to give it a little space. At the beginning I was a little uncomfortable, but the more I did it the more relaxed I felt. I started hitting the ball better, felt better hitting it and saw it better.”

Menechino said the hand adjustment “freed” Hechavarria’s swing up.

“What he’s doing is he's getting good pitches to hit and he's not chasing the ball,” Menechino said. “He's not panicking with two strikes either. He's sticking with his approach and the little mechanical change we made.”

> Redmond said he wanted to give the left-handed hitting Christian Yelich (.158) a break Friday since the Marlins were facing another left-handed starter.

“I still feel great about him in that leadoff spot and feel he's going to make the adjustment,” Redmond said. “It's just going to take a little bit of time. He has to stay with it.”

> Utility infielder Ed Lucas had his protective cast removed from his surgically repaired left hand Friday. Redmond said Lucas can't play catch or hit, but will do other baseball related activities. Lucas is expected to be out at least a month.

> The Marlins are hoping to give second baseman Rafael Furcal (hamstring) a minor league assignment before taking off on the road Monday, but Redmond said it's unclear if that will happen or if Furcal will need more rest. 

> In his first four games, Casey McGehee has driven in a Major League-leading eight RBI (tied with Mark Trumbo). His RBI total is tied with Hanley Ramirez (2009) for the most ever by a Marlin through the first four games of a season.

The Club record for most RBI over the team’s first five games of the season is nine, done by Ivan Rodriguez (2003), Alex Gonzalez (2003) and Ramirez (2009). McGehee has tallied the most RBI by a player over his first four games as a Marlin, besting the previous mark of six, done previously by Moises Alou (April 1-4, 1997), Ivan Rodriguez (March 31-April 4, 2003) and Mike Jacobs (April 3-7, 2006). The Franchise mark for most RBI in the first five games as a Marlin is nine, done by Rodriguez in 2003.


> Marlins (3-1): 1. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 2. Jeff Baker 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Reed Johnson LF, 9. Tom Koehler RHP

> Padres (1-2): 1. Everth Cabrera SS, 2. Will Venable CF, 3. Chase Headley 3B, 4. Seth Smith LF, 5. Yonder Alonso 1B, 6. Jedd Gyorko 2B, 7. Chris Denorfia RF, 8. Yasmani Grandal C, 9. Eric Stults LHP.