Marlins notebook

All-Star talk does nothing to distract Miami Marlins’ Casey McGehee

cspencer@MiamiHerald.comJuly 8, 2014 

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The Marlins’ Casey McGehee began Tuesday as the major-league leader in hitting with runners in scoring position (.398).

DILIP VISHWANAT — Getty Images

— After being informed by St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny during batting practice on Sunday that he hadn’t made the All-Star team, Casey McGehee went out and collected a pair of hits.

On Monday, as the campaign was gearing up to help put McGehee on the team through the “Final Vote” selection process, he had two more hits, extending his hitting streak to 14 consecutive games.

All of the All-Star talk, in other words, has done nothing to distract McGehee on the field, where he is continuing to excel and put up career numbers that not even the Marlins could have possibly imagined when they signed him over the winter.

Though the Marlins would never say so publicly, they were just looking for a stopgap at third base until Colin Moran, one of their top minor-league prospects, was ready to take over.

Now, because McGehee is having an off-the-charts season that is beyond anyone’s expectations, they’re fending off trade rumors, telling USA Today they have no intention of dealing him before the July 31 deadline.

For McGehee, none of the background chatter has affected him in the least on the field.

“Baseball’s always been my kind of escape from everything that’s going on, whether it be good or bad,” McGehee said after the MLB Network did a live interview on Tuesday’s telecast to talk about his All-Star situation. “It’s a four-hour break from reality every night.”

McGehee has had practice making baseball his escape.

“Unfortunately, I’ve had some practice with having to compartmentalize stuff,” he said.

After his 7-year-old son Mack was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 15-months old, McGehee was processing plenty in his head.

“I’ve had a lot bigger distractions to put out of my mind than an All-Star Game,” he said. “When we first found out about stuff going on with my son it’s not necessarily easy to handle. That’s a lot harder for me to put out of mind than any personal achievement on the baseball field.”

So the All-Star banter is nothing to McGehee.

He began the day on Tuesday as the National League leader in hits with 110 and major-league leader in hitting with runners in scoring position (.398). He also took a streak of 31 consecutive games reaching base into Tuesday’s game, as well as a 21-game road hitting streak, the second-longest in Marlins history behind Luis Castillo’s 27-game road streak in 2002.

And he’s done all that with only one home run, which he feels is the stat that stood out among all others in costing him — so far, at least — his first All-Star spot.

“Maybe there’s times here or there I could have taken a shot [at trying to hit a home run],” McGehee said. “But I truly believe if I tried to do that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.”

HOME RUN DERBY

While many are picking Giancarlo Stanton to win the Home Run Derby, Stanton said he believes Yoenis Cespedes of the A’s is the one to beat.

“He won last year, so I’d say him,” Stanton said of Cespedes, who will be attempting to become the first back-to-back winner of the home run competition since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998-99.

The field for Monday’s Derby at Target Field in Minneapolis was announced Tuesday.

In addition to Stanton, the National League field will include the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, Reds’ Todd Frazier and Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki, who is the team captain. Over on the American League side, the lineup consists of Cespedes, the Orioles’ Adam Jones, Twins’ Brian Dozier and Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista.

One more player from each league will be added to the Derby field on Thursday.

Most of the national focus for the event appears to be focused on Stanton.

“If I didn’t get this guy to participate, I’d be in trouble,” Tulowitzki said of Stanton on ESPN.

ROUGH OUTING

Fresh off paternity leave, Tom Koehler made his way back to the mound for the Marlins on Monday for the first time since the birth of his daughter. Based on the unsightly results, he probably wished he was back home changing diapers or mixing formula — anything but taking his lumps on a baseball field.

Koehler was spanked hard by last-place Arizona in a 9-1 Marlins loss at Chase Field, the most lopsided loss for the Marlins since a 10-1 dusting by the San Diego Padres on May 9.

By the time the Diamondbacks were done taking care of him, Koehler had given up seven runs on eight hits, a pair of walks, and a hit batsman. And that was all accomplished in three-plus innings of work. A stellar outing it was not. It was the quickest exit of Koehler’s 42-start career.

“It’s not the way you want to pitch,” Koehler said. “When I threw the ball over the plate, they hit it hard.”

COMING UP

•  Wednesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-4, 3.75 ERA) at Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Josh Collmenter (7-5, 3.98), 3:40 p.m., Chase Field.

•  Thursday: No game.

•  Friday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (6-3, 2.27) at New York Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (4-8, 4.07), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.

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