Coghlan moves past poor first month

Coghlan moves past poor first month

Coghlan moves past poor first month
PHILADELPIA -- Taking a then-and-now approach is how Chris Coghlan is handling his season.

In his own way, the Marlins outfielder is separating the first month from the present.

Although Coghlan made the Opening Day roster, he was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on April 29. The outfielder was recalled on May 20, and he's seen steady playing time in left and center field since.

"For me, I just try to separate two seasons," said Coghlan, who has missed substantial time due to injuries since 2010. "Since I've come back, I try to focus like this is a new season. Individually, I just have that mindset, and don't judge off the first 30 or 40 ABs."

Gradually, he's feeling more comfortable at the plate. It's not always reflected by his numbers.

Coghlan is batting .151 overall on the season. But since being brought back, he's at a .179 clip with one home run and eight RBIs. Hitting in the bottom of the order, his on-base percentage is .261 in that span, and he's scored runs in three of the team's last four games.

"Since I've been back, I feel good," he said. "Sometimes I get hits, sometimes I don't. It's just one of those things."

In April, Coghlan played sparingly, mostly pinch-hitting or entering games late as part of double-switches.

He was 4-for-34 (.118) before getting sent down in late April.

When Miami sent Gaby Sanchez down to Triple-A on May 19, it cleared the way for the team to move Logan Morrison from left field to first base.

Coghlan has played solid defense in the outfield, which is something the team is looking for, especially playing in spacious Marlins Park.

The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year isn't using missed time as an excuse, but he has played in a total of 97 games since July 2010. And his role entering Spring Training was as a backup.

"I didn't play more than two games in a row in Spring Training and at the beginning of the season," Coghlan said. "It wasn't until last year that I played two games in a row before I went on the DL.

"I don't look at it as I've got to make up time. I look at it as learning and trying to continue to make adjustments. I haven't played, obviously, a full season. I just feel like there is so much to grow and get better at. I can't evaluate myself until I play a full year -- until I play, get 500 plate appearances."