SAN FRANCISCO -- If there is a better fielding shortstop in the National League than Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins infield coach Perry Hill hasn't seen him.
"I haven't seen a better shortstop in the league," said Hill, highly respected as one of the best instructors in the business. "There are a lot of good shortstops. Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of good shortstops, but I haven't seen anybody better than him."
The 24-year-old, acquired from the Blue Jays last November, is still looking to make his impact at the plate. His batting average entering Sunday was .210 with two home runs and 19 RBIs.
The Marlins feel in the next couple of years his offense will really pick up.
What makes him such an attractive rookie is his athleticism and especially his defense. Hechavarria has committed two errors in 60 games.
A probable front-runner in the Gold Glove race is Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, who has made just one error in 58 games. Hechavarria has a .991 fielding percentage, compared to .996 for Tulowitzki.
"Experience is the best teacher," Hill said. "The more you play, the better you get."
Hechavarria has a flare in the field, and he makes everything routine look easy.
"What stands out is his consistency and making routine plays and making the plays he should make," Hill said. "If the ball is two or three steps either way, so far, you've been out. That's what you want. His footwork and his preparation on throws have gotten a lot better. But he's a worker."
In Miami's win over the D-backs last Monday, Hechavarria made a run-saving play by going up the middle and throwing out Gerardo Parra to deny what would have been an RBI single.
"It picks the club up. It saved us a run," Hill said. "Those are bonuses. I've said it a million times, you want to make the plays you are supposed to make, and those [highlight] plays are a bonus. You want those bonus plays every so often, especially when they get you out of jams."
Redmond has fun dissecting first ejection
SAN FRANCISCO -- On one of the more bizarre and confusing fan-interference calls you will see, Mike Redmond had his say and was promptly tossed from the game.
In the fifth inning of the Marlins' 2-1 loss to the Giants on Saturday, Redmond was ejected for the first time as a big league manager. It came in his 74th game.
First-base umpire Mark Wegner threw Redmond out for his choice of words after Gregor Blanco was credited with an RBI double on a ball that bounced up the high brick wall in right-center. A fan reached over the wall and pulled the ball out of play.
On interference, it is the umpire's discretion regarding how far the baserunners can advance. It was ruled that Barry Zito could score from first base. Had it bounced into the stands for an automatic double, Zito would have gone back to third.
Redmond on Sunday reflected on his first ejection, which he handled in a more reserved way. He had some fun with getting run for the first time.
"We're all learning out here, and there are probably some things I could have done differently," he joked. "If I analyze the video a little bit, I can definitely be more animated. I can do that.
"I'll look at the video and pick it apart a little bit, and see maybe if there is a better way to get my point across. That makes everybody happy."
Asked about kicking dirt or throwing things, Redmond said: "I think we have to build up for that."
Prior to joining the Marlins, the 42-year-old Redmond managed two years in the Blue Jays' Minor League system.
"I'm sure my ejections were way better in the Minor Leagues, but nobody got to appreciate them because nobody is in the stands," Redmond said. "I think you have to have your own style with that. I'm still working on it. It's my first one. I've got to find my own style; I don't know what it's going to be."
Lucas dedicates first homer to grandfather
SAN FRANCISCO -- The drive may have landed in the left-field seats Saturday afternoon for Ed Lucas, but the journey began about a decade earlier.
Lucas is a story of patience and perseverance.
The 31-year-old rookie graduated from Dartmouth in 2004, and quite frankly, he wondered if his big league opportunity would ever come. It did with the Marlins when he was brought up from Triple-A New Orleans. He made his big league debut on May 30 against Tampa Bay.
On Saturday, in his 18th game and 64th at-bat, he connected on his first Major League home run. It was a drive to left in the first inning off Barry Zito of the Giants at AT&T Park.
Lucas traded an autographed bat with a fan for the baseball, which he is dedicating to his grandfather, who passed away a year ago.
On a Marlins team looking for players to step up, Lucas has become a quiet contributor. He's seen regular playing time, mostly at third base when Placido Polanco needs a breather. A utility infielder, he also has played second base against left-handed pitching. The Marlins also have used him at first base, left field and shortstop.
"It's been great," Lucas said. "I knew I was coming up here to fill a utility role. But I didn't think it was going to be getting this many starts."
Manager Mike Redmond has given Lucas chances to bat second, in front of Giancarlo Stanton.
"I've had some good time in the lineup," he said. "I've faced some lefties. It's been good. I've been trying to take it at-bat by at-bat. When Red wants to throw me in the lineup, I have one of the best hitters in the world right behind me. I'm not trying to hit a home run. I hit a home run [Saturday], but that's not what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to get on base. If I can get on base, I feel one pitch later it could be two runs very easily."
It's not uncommon over the course of a game for Lucas to switch positions on the field. He's used to playing wherever.
"I spent a long time in the Minor Leagues, and I spent a long time playing a lot of positions," he said. "Whether Red needs me in the outfield or the infield, I'm good to go."
• Henderson Alvarez is throwing a rehab assignment game with Double-A Jacksonville on Sunday. He is close to being reinstated from the 60-day disabled list, where he has missed the entire season with right shoulder inflammation.
• Justin Ruggiano made his second straight start in left field in place of Juan Pierre. The move was done in hopes of adding more power to a lineup that is struggling for run production.