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Coghlan thriving in everyday role atop lineup

Coghlan thriving in everyday role atop lineup

MIAMI -- All Chris Coghlan needed was some consistency.

Since Marlins manager Mike Redmond inserted Coghlan into the everyday lineup on May 18, the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year has shined.

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In the past 11 games, Coghlan has batted .351 with one home run, four RBIs, three triples and three doubles. Coghlan's torrid stretch has raised his batting average from .206 to .260, which ranks third among Miami hitters with at least 55 at-bats.

"Playing consistently is a lot easier than once a week or once every couple of weeks," Coghlan said. "There was a span there for a while that I didn't play, but I was able to pinch-hit and work my way back into the lineup."

From April 29 to May 17, Coghlan tallied only 17 plate appearances in 15 games. He finished 0-for-2 with a walk during his lone start - a 5-3 loss to the Reds on May 16.

Despite the limited work, Coghlan went 5-for-15 during the span, prompting Redmond to give Coghlan an everyday role.

"He's gone out there and he's made the most of his opportunities," Redmond said. "He's been a nice spark for us for the past couple of weeks. … His at-bats have been probably as good as anybody out there."

Coghlan's recent stretch has been a bright spot for a struggling Miami offense. The Marlins ranked last in the Majors in numerous offensive categories entering Thursday, including batting average (.221), on-base percentage (.280), runs scored (145) and total bases (556).

Redmond put Coghlan in the leadoff spot three times in Miami's home-and-home series against Tampa Bay. In six games leading off entering Thursday, Coghlan was batting .269 (7-for-26) with a walk.

"Right now, he's a guy that's getting on base, so we're going to hit him at the top of the order," Redmond said. "I would really love to hit him probably a little bit lower, where he maybe sees some more chances to drive in runs, but right now, he's getting on base, so I like him on base early in the game and to get as many at-bats as he can get over the course of the game."

While Coghlan admitted that playing everyday and batting leadoff was a nice show of confidence from Redmond, the outfielder said staying focused on his game and not tying himself down to others' expectations is key to his continued success.

"When I just stay within myself, it works better than trying to please a manager or please coaches or please your teammates," Coghlan said. "You're not going to be perfect, so you're going to let them down at times.

"When I focus more on what I'm trying to do and know what I'm trying to do is helping the team win and that I don't necessarily hang my hat on whether I won the coaches' approval or not, then I'm better."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less