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Yelich's transition to Majors remains straightforward

WASHINGTON -- Before Wednesday night's game at Nationals Park, Christian Yelich recalled the last time that he faced Nats right-hander Stephen Strasburg.

Yelich, then 19, was in his first year of professional baseball and playing at Class A Greensboro. Strasburg was making his first rehab start after Tommy John surgery for Class A Advanced Hagerstown. Yelich said it was "a cool moment."

"I got like a 12-hopper that made it through the hole," the Marlins' rookie left fielder said, smiling. "But it still counts, right?"

Yelich faced Strasburg again on Wednesday, this time in his 34th game with the Marlins. The 21-year-old has shown incremental progress since being called up from Double-A Jacksonville on July 23. His approach has impressed manager Mike Redmond, who put Yelich in the No. 3 spot for the first time at the big league level on Wednesday.

"He's done a nice job, I think, of putting together good at-bats," Redmond said. "And he's learning. He's stayed very consistent with his approach, he's drawn walks, and I feel very comfortable with him in the top part of the lineup as a young player, and that's obviously a good sign."

Entering Wednesday, Yelich was hitting .259 with six doubles, one triple and two home runs, including a solo shot on Tuesday. He said that his transition to the Majors has been relatively straightforward.

"It's still baseball," the rookie said. "Obviously they're a little bit better up here, but I think baseball-wise, everything's the same. Once you get over the distraction of your debut, first hit, first home run -- once you get all that out of the way -- then it's fine."

Tom Schad is an associate reporter for
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