I must be a stinkin’ genius, but probably not: Coghlan makes it to the Bigs

Our headline the other day asked the question, “Is Chris a Can’t Miss”?

Looks like fate and our promotional plan has rolled the way of former Greensboro Grasshopper Chris Coghlan(Class of 2007) and he is on the field with the Florida Marlins.

They called him up on Thursday after his recent tear with the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs and the Marlins started him out at second base, his natural position, but the plan is to insert him in the outfield(they are looking at left) along side former Greensboro Bat Jeremy Hermida(2003).

I saw Coghlan when he was with Greensboro and then again last summer at the AA Southern League All-Star game in Zebulon.

Here’s the word from the Florida Marlins site on Coghlan’s move up the bigs:

DENVER — Fredi Gonzalez was looking to help an inconsistent offense on a Marlins club that had lost six of its last seven games.

Enter Chris Coghlan, a 23-year-old rookie who was called up after his Triple-A game in New Orleans on Thursday night and made his Major League debut at second base in Colorado Friday.

“He had a great game,” Gonzalez said of the rookie’s debut. “Kid came up here and had two hits.”

The Marlins couldn’t have asked for better timing from Coghlan, but they had every reason to expect it, given his record so far with the New Orleans Zephyrs.

“We’re going to try him in the outfield,” Gonzalez said. “I didn’t want to bring this kid up and his first Major League game ever and put him in left field. So hopefully let him play second, where that’s his normal position. Let him through all the first-game jitters, and then the plan is run him out in left field.”

In his first season at Triple-A, Coghlan was hitting .344 with three homers, nine doubles, a triple and 22 RBIs, including six on Tuesday night. He’s been on a tear the last 11 games, posting a .525 average (21-for-40), and he had the Marlins talking about bringing him up all week, well before Anibal Sanchez went down with a shoulder injury to open up a roster spot.

“He’s had a total of 24 hours [experience in the outfield],” Gonzalez joked, without having to stretch the truth. “We’ve been talking about it since Tuesday as an organization. So he’s been working in the outfield. Yesterday was the first game he played in the outfield. He told me the only ball that went to him was a home run over his head.”

Though most of the Marlins’ lineup is struggling, Dan Uggla doesn’t have to worry about Coghlan taking his spot at second. Though he hasn’t played in the outfield since Little League, Gonzalez is willing to chance some defensive struggles in hopes of an offensive infusion. He’s played sparingly at third and might get a chance there as well.

“We need that bat in the lineup, that’s how we feel,” Gonzalez said. “You know he’s going to get three or four at-bats. You’re not really sure if he’s going to get a ground ball or fly ball over there. To get a bat in the lineup, we might have to live with a mistake or something. We need the possibility of a good bat in the lineup.”

Though Coughlan didn’t get a single ground ball at second — his two popups perhaps portend his shift to the outfield — he did contribute at the plate on Friday night. And though nobody could claim he deserves all the credit, his 2-for-4 night with a walk and his first big league hit contributed to the Marlins’ most productive night at the plate since scoring eight runs in Chicago on April 30.

“I’ll definitely keep [the ball] and remember that for the rest of my life,” Coghlan said of his first hit. “I’ll probably put it in a frame in a closet or something.

“I felt a little more jumpy here than I would normally, just being anxious and a little bit more adrenaline than normal,” Coghlan said. “Usually I feel real calm, and tonight I could feel the adrenaline. I felt good, but I didn’t feel as calm as I did in New Orleans.”

When Coghlan goes to left, look for Jeremy Hermida to move to right and for Cody Ross, Alfredo Amezaga and Cameron Maybin to battle for playing time. All four outfielders were hitting .242 or under entering Friday night, and with a pitcher expected to be added either to the bullpen or the rotation in time for Tuesday’s game when the Sanchez’s spot comes around, a position player could be on the way out.

“He’s here; we’re going to let him play,” Gonzalez said. “He’ll get some time. I wouldn’t say he’s our left fielder locked in. We’re just trying to inject a little offense into our lineup. This kid deserves an opportunity, the way he’s been swinging the bat in Triple-A. Why not?”

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