Hayes earns more playing time

Hayes earns more playing time

Hayes earns more playing time
SAN DIEGO -- Performance is creating more playing time for Marlins catcher Brett Hayes.

The 28-year-old from Pasadena, Calif., had his first three-hit game on Thursday in Miami's 3-2 win at the Giants. Hayes scored two runs and extended his hitting streak to five games.

Hayes is 8-for-17 (.471) in the streak, and he raised his season average to .375, and that's why he is in the starting lineup on Friday night in the series opener against the Padres.

"I'm not going to bench a guy who had three hits," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think he's swinging the bat good. I've got to take advantage of that."

Of late, Hayes has gained more playing time, almost splitting the position with veteran John Buck.

Hayes isn't getting too far ahead of himself when it comes to making starts behind the plate.

"Buck's the guy," he said. "But if they call my name, for whatever reason, if they choose to do that, I'm going to do the best I can and go from there."

Guillen noted that Buck is the regular catcher.

"[Hayes] is taking advantage of that," Guillen said of his opportunities. "Is he going to play every day? I don't think so. It's too early to pull the plug on Buck."

Hayes also is making an impact with his defense. In seven starts, he has thrown out three runners trying to steal, including Gregor Blanco in the first inning on Thursday at AT&T Park. And on Tuesday at San Francisco, Hayes threw out Ryan Theriot trying to swipe second in the seventh.

Hayes had a couple of dozen family members and friends on hand at the series in San Francisco. A similar number is expected this weekend at San Diego.

"He's playing good," Guillen said. "He's a tremendous defensive catcher. He calls the game very well. Great thrower. Now, with his at-bats, it's helping him more. Since I've been here, he's been doing a tremendous job."