PHILADELPHIA -- Fans don't vote for pitchers on the All-Star ballot, but Marlins reliever Steve Cishek has the endorsement of a former All-Star to be part of the Midsummer Classic.
"If he keeps this up, he's definitely [deserving]," said Miami closer Heath Bell, a three-time All-Star.
Cishek, 25, is rapidly becoming one of the most effective relievers in the National League. He's been used in various roles, setting up in the seventh and eighth. And on occasion, he's pitched in the ninth or extra innings.
In 23 appearances and 23 innings, the right-hander with the side-arm delivery has a 1.17 ERA. He's struck out 24, and hitters are batting .203 against him. He's given up just 16 hits.
"He's an All-Star-caliber pitcher right now," Bell said. "The only bad part is he's a middle-relief guy. You can't really say he's a setup guy, because we haven't really had a one-two punch. We've used a lot of people, especially my punch hasn't always been there."
In Saturday's 5-4 win at Philadelphia, Cishek worked out of a jam in the eighth inning, striking out Carlos Ruiz and Ty Wigginton.
"I keep saying, one of the biggest surprises and the biggest things we have is that kid. We put him in different roles," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He's handled it well. He's a very key guy out of the bullpen."
Coghlan moves past poor first month
PHILADELPIA -- Taking a then-and-now approach is how Chris Coghlan is handling his season.
In his own way, the Marlins outfielder is separating the first month from the present.
Although Coghlan made the Opening Day roster, he was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on April 29. The outfielder was recalled on May 20, and he's seen steady playing time in left and center field since.
"For me, I just try to separate two seasons," said Coghlan, who has missed substantial time due to injuries since 2010. "Since I've come back, I try to focus like this is a new season. Individually, I just have that mindset, and don't judge off the first 30 or 40 ABs."
Gradually, he's feeling more comfortable at the plate. It's not always reflected by his numbers.
Coghlan is batting .151 overall on the season. But since being brought back, he's at a .179 clip with one home run and eight RBIs. Hitting in the bottom of the order, his on-base percentage is .261 in that span, and he's scored runs in three of the team's last four games.
"Since I've been back, I feel good," he said. "Sometimes I get hits, sometimes I don't. It's just one of those things."
In April, Coghlan played sparingly, mostly pinch-hitting or entering games late as part of double-switches.
He was 4-for-34 (.118) before getting sent down in late April.
When Miami sent Gaby Sanchez down to Triple-A on May 19, it cleared the way for the team to move Logan Morrison from left field to first base.
Coghlan has played solid defense in the outfield, which is something the team is looking for, especially playing in spacious Marlins Park.
The 2009 National League Rookie of the Year isn't using missed time as an excuse, but he has played in a total of 97 games since July 2010. And his role entering Spring Training was as a backup.
"I didn't play more than two games in a row in Spring Training and at the beginning of the season," Coghlan said. "It wasn't until last year that I played two games in a row before I went on the DL.
"I don't look at it as I've got to make up time. I look at it as learning and trying to continue to make adjustments. I haven't played, obviously, a full season. I just feel like there is so much to grow and get better at. I can't evaluate myself until I play a full year -- until I play, get 500 plate appearances."
Marlins shifting with the times
PHILADELPHIA -- Infield shifts are trending in the big leagues, and the Marlins certainly have taken notice.
Last month, when the club was in Cleveland, the Indians employed a dramatic shift for Logan Morrison. The second baseman was positioned in short right field, while the shortstop was just on the first-base side of second. And the third baseman was stationed basically where the shortstop would normally play.
In Cleveland, the Marlins shifted for Travis Hafner.
The Marlins study hitting trends, and they have used some shifts. If the Phillies had Ryan Howard healthy right now, they'd be repositioning their infielders. They've done some mild shifts for Jimmy Rollins, when he is batting from the left side.
"If you have the information, you have to use it," said Miami bench coach Joey Cora, who works with the infielders.
For the Marlins to consider an infield shift, a batter's chart has to show that he pulls 80-85 percent of his ground balls. Some teams have lower percentage numbers, like 70-75 percent.
Cora noted that why would a team play the third baseman in his normal spot against a left-handed hitter who never taps a ground ball that way. Occasionally, a team will get burned by the shift. But the odds favor the shift unless a batter shows otherwise.
"When you've got percentages like that, those [15-pecent] hits are usually a broken bat or jam shot," Cora said. "Nothing you can do about that."
Early in the season, it is sometimes difficult to see trends, unless a player has had a track record for years.
"Now with guys with about 200 plate appearances, that's more than enough," Cora said of a sample size.