Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Young Florida Marlins standout Chris Coghlan of East Lake High maintains humble approach

Chris Coghlan, trying to score on the Cardinals’ Jason LaRue last week, adjusted to hitting leadoff and playing the outfield last season. This year he has to adjust to the league’s adjustments.

Associated Press

Chris Coghlan, trying to score on the Cardinals’ Jason LaRue last week, adjusted to hitting leadoff and playing the outfield last season. This year he has to adjust to the league’s adjustments.

For Marlins leftfielder Chris Coghlan, it's a bit more difficult to stay under the radar.

Coghlan, 24, an East Lake High product, has been garnering added attention since winning National League rookie of the year. Autograph seekers have popped up everywhere from a Louisville, Ky., airport to the Marlins clubhouse; Coghlan said he was honored the most when teammate Tim Wood bought his jersey and asked him to sign it.

"That's very humbling," he said.

But so is baseball, which is why Coghlan is determined to prove his impressive rookie season was no fluke. Coghlan (pronounced COG-lan) may be penciled into the starting lineup and leadoff spot, where he will bat today against the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park, but he's still "training like I need to earn a job" for opening day.

"When the season ended, you look back and go, 'Wow, that was crazy,' " he said. "It's amazing that it happened, I would have never thought that it would. But at the same time it's about this year, 2010. That was last year. You can't win the award twice."

Many Rays fans probably remember Coghlan from his hard slide into second base in May that led to Akinori Iwamura needing left-knee surgery. But Coghlan left his mark in other ways, leading all major-league rookies last season in hitting (.321), runs (84), hits (162), total bases (232) and on-base percentage (.390).

He did all this despite spending the first month in the minors, batting leadoff for the first time and adjusting to a new position. Coghlan came up a second baseman but welcomed the switch to leftfield.

"I think we all knew he was going to be able to hit — he was a good offensive player," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But everybody was kind of skeptical a little bit of how well he'd pick up the leftfield position. We used to take him out the first month of the year for (a defensive replacement), but he got to the point where he was one of the better leftfielders in the National League."

Coghlan said there's still room to improve, including his route-running and approach at the plate, where he's excited to set the table for teammates.

"I look at it as, I'm the first one up, I'm the igniter of the team," he said. "I feel I need to bring a presence to every game to show the other guys behind me my intensity, that I'm ready to go."

Gonzalez acknowledges there will likely be adjustments made by the league's pitchers, as well as from Coghlan himself. When asked what the Palm Harbor native needed to do better, Gonzalez smiled.

"Shoot, I'll take those numbers (again)," he said. "He doesn't need to improve any of those numbers."

And, autographs aside, Coghlan said, "I don't think I've changed in any way."

"I think there's changing as far as people noticing me or treating me, and there's definitely a battle of trying to stay humble in the game and dealing with the different successes and failures," he said. "It's different this year, for sure, but I tell people all the time, 'Nothing is guaranteed in this game. Anything can happen.' "

Coghlan's rookie year was proof of that.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]s.com.

Young Florida Marlins standout Chris Coghlan of East Lake High maintains humble approach 03/12/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.