Jays Convinced Hechavarria Will Hit
DUNEDIN, Fla. — There has never been a question about Adeiny Hechavarria's fielding ability.
The concern has been how the Cuban shortstop will hit.
The Blue Jays are convinced that he will be able to hit at the major league level.
"If you look at this swing there's no reason he shouldn't hit," assistant general manager Tony LaCava said. "We believe that and he believes that. Now it's just a matter of time."
The 22-year-old was signed in April 2010 to a $10-million contract and since then LaCava has seen the progress.
Last year, Hechavarria batted .235/.275/.347 in 111 games at Double-A New Hampshire and .389/.431/.537 in 25 games at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he is scheduled to open this season.
"Defensively, his tools were off the chart when he signed," LaCava said. "But what he's worked on since he's been here is consistency to his arm slot and just making the routine play more regularly. And that's true of any player that comes into professional baseball. The consistency of the game as you move up levels is what separates. He's really done a nice job defensively to become consistent."
The consistency has yet to come at the plate.
"The thing about players like him is they'll tell you when they're ready," LaCava said. "You just keep watching him, and when he's ready to play in the major leagues he'll let us know by his performance."
During spring training, Hechavarria has worked out at second base as well as shortstop. It's something the organization often does with infield prospects.
"Defensively at shortstop he's a gifted player and this just makes him a little more employable if he can play some other spots," LaCava said.
• Former catcher Kevin Cash, who came up through the Blue Jays system and started his major league career with Toronto in 2002, will advance scout some National League teams this season to prepare for interleague play. The Blue Jays were 8-10 last season in interleague play.
• Lefthanded reliever Evan Crawford made a strong early impression in major league camp as manager John Farrell described his stuff as "very crisp." Crawford struck out Miguel Cabrera in a game against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. "He's making the most of his opportunities," Farrell said.