Playing in Caribbean Series beneficial to Hernandez

Competitive play in offseason helps infielder stay sharp for spring

Playing in Caribbean Series beneficial to Hernandez

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's been just over three weeks since Enrique Hernandez stepped into the batter's box in front of thousands of hometown fans at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

That intense experience is only part of the reason he played in the annual Caribbean Series -- the tournament between the Winter League champions from Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico -- early last month.

"I'm basically still game-ready and that might put me a step ahead of some of the guys when it comes to being in game-shape," Hernandez said. "I played two and half months in the big leagues last year in Miami and Houston, so there were not too many games where I could play in front of that many fans, so being able to play in the Caribbean Series in front of 20,000 fans in key situations was a good learning lesson for me."

The Marlins acquired Hernandez and right-hander Jarred Cosart from the Astros on July 31. In 42 games between Houston and Miami last season, Hernandez batted .248 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. He was traded to the Dodgers as part of a seven-player deal for Dee Gordon and Dan Haren in December.

Hernandez can play shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions.

"Camp has been great so far," he said. "I showed up a little early to get acclimated with the guys and the coaching staff. It's been a great experience. I feel like I'm at home."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.