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Trade catches versatile Hernandez by surprise

Trade catches versatile Hernandez by surprise

MIAMI -- Rookie Enrique Hernandez has been in the Major Leagues for a month and he's already experienced a lot of firsts -- his first hit, his first home run, his first multi-hit game. Not his first stolen base, although that's a work in progress.

But you can add to the list his first trade, as he was one of the players the Marlins acquired from the Astros in their deal to bring in starter Jarred Cosart.

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"[The trade] caught me by surprise," said Hernandez. "I've only been up in the Major Leagues for a month, so I never thought it would happen. Well, I thought it could, but not that fast."

The 22-year-old, who came up as a second baseman in the Minors, was called up on July 1 to bolster the Astros' infield, but he ended up getting an everyday spot in the outfield after fellow rookie George Springer landed on the disabled list.

Hernandez lit up the Pacific Coast League when he was with Triple-A Oklahoma City, batting .337 with eight homers, 17 doubles and 31 RBIs in 67 games. His hot hitting transferred to the Major League level, as he hit a ground-rule double in his first at-bat and ended up with a .284 average and eight RBIs in 24 games for the Astros.

As uncomfortable as joining a new team might be, Hernandez is excited for the opportunity to play in the National League. Hernandez is a super utility player -- he can play anywhere on the field and not be out of depth. That versatility is what drew Miami in the first place.

"We'll probably use him in a bunch of different roles," manager Mike Redmond said. "Probably get him in at second in the next couple days. He can give Casey [McGehee] a day off [at third]. He can play the outfield. We can double-switch with him. He gives us a lot of flexibility."

Hernandez, who was the Astros' sixth-round pick of the 2009 Draft from American Military Academy in Puerto Rico, has never played for another organization. He worked through every level of the Astros' farm system and batted .274 with 34 homers, 106 doubles and 211 RBIs in 491 games across six Minor League seasons.

Leaving his first team behind was bittersweet, he said, but Hernandez is looking forward to joining a Marlins club that's attempting a run at the playoffs.

"A change of scenery," Hernandez remarked. "[Cosart and I are] actually joining a winning team, helping the team fight for a playoff spot. ... It was a little bittersweet because it was sad to say bye to all those guys, but I'm happy to be a Marlin now."

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