Miami Marlins utility man and former National League Rookie of The Year Chris Coghlan still feels like he is playing spring games.
Coghlan spent two months on the disabled list, and both before and after his DL stint, the Marlins asked Coghlan to get adjusted to playing third base, a position they have struggled to consistently fill. After being reinstated, Coghlan has seen time at third base, but has made it his goal to improve offensively.
"It's different because I'm coming off an injury, [rather than] preparing the whole offseason and having spring training," Coghlan said in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel. "You have to learn a lot quicker now, versus having the whole offseason to take grounders. I feel like there's definitely a lot I can improve on in time. It's going to be up to them. I don't know what their plans are."
Having signed Placido Polanco to a one-year contract before the start of the season and having traded Matt Dominguez to Houston last season, the Marlins don't have many third base options, and the job may be Coghlan's to lose. Coghlan said that his success starts with "[Manager] Mike Redmond trusting me to play out there."
Although he is getting adjusted to playing third on a consistent basis, Coghlan isn't pleased with his production at the plate. He is batting .266 with a .308 on-base percentage in 2013. However, when he was the Rookie of The Year in 2009, Coghlan's batting average was .321 with an OBP of .390.
"It hasn't been the consistency that I want or think that I'm capable of," Coghlan said. "Trying to come back after two months and expect to be in the same spot that you left is probably not the best expectation."
Following some time in the outfield, Coghlan played third base and batted leadoff in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader against the New York Mets. Despite hitting .263 after returning, according to The Sentinel, Coghlan had games where he collected four and three hits over that span.
Redmond has made it evident that he is willing to give Coghlan a chance in a lineup that has consistently struggled. A lower back injury slowed Coghlan's offensive success down, but he is confident he will be able to bounce back next season.
"It's been an exciting transition for me just because I try to get in the lineup each day, try to give them the best options to be able to play," Coghlan said. "I'm healed, I'm good. For me the bigget thing is coming back and knowing I can compete at this level and be healthy. Going into the offseason, I've already had a victory."
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