Hechavarria striving to be well-rounded
MIAMI -- Missing the last week of Spring Training may turn out to be a blessing for Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
The 24-year-old was sidelined with a tight groin. He went exactly one week without seeing game action until he was in the Opening Day lineup on Monday.
The brief setback came after a strong Spring Training for the flashy fielding shortstop.
"I know it was probably a blessing that he was off those final five or six days of Spring Training, making sure that he is healthy," manager Mike Redmond said. "Obviously, he was. I've liked what I've seen from him. he had a great spring."
Defensively, Miami envisions Hechavarria as a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop. He made his first acrobatic play on Opening Day, robbing Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki of a hit by making a leaping catch.
At the plate is where he has had questions.
A year ago, he batted .227 and led the team in games played (148) and at-bats (543).
In Spring Training, he worked with hitting coach Frank Menechino, and he made strides hitting the ball up the middle and to right field. Hechavarria batted .319 (15-for-47) in Grapefruit League play.
"He's worked hard with Frankie," Redmond said. "He's been working on driving the ball the other way, and staying on pitches. At the same time, too, he's working on when he gets the ball middle-in, he's working on pulling them. The key to his success is what we talked about last year, him trying to drive the ball to right field. That really is the key."