09/03/09 5:42 PM EST
Coghlan is NL's top rookie for August
During hot streak, outfielder sets team record for hits in month
By David Villavicencio / MLB.com
Chris Coghlan was named the National League Rookie of the Month on Thursday after a stellar August in which he hit .385 and set a franchise record for hits in a month.
"To win the award is special, but awards are individual and what we play this game for is for the good of the team and to win," Coghlan said. "That stuff is cool to look back on at the end of the year, but we're focused on winning, and I feel blessed that I could have a good month and help this team win."
The outfielder's 47 hits in August not only set a Marlins record for hits in a month, but Coghlan was the first NL rookie to collect 47 or more hits in a month since Wally Moon had 52 hits in July 1954 for the St. Louis Cardinals. Coghlan feels his success at the plate coincided with his adjustments to the pace of the big league game.
"I think it's being able to slow the game down," Coghlan said. "Everything is slowing down for me to the speed that it was in the Minors. I'm realizing that even my at-bats are slowing down. Fortunately, I've hit balls hard and they've fallen, and some of the balls I haven't hit hard have fallen. Just because you hit it hard doesn't mean it's going to be a hit, and just because you don't hit it hard doesn't mean it's going to be an out. I feel fortunate to have been able to help out the team."
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez was very impressed with how his rookie left fielder performed last month, and he hopes this latest accolade will get Coghlan some national attention for a bigger award.
"The month he had in August was for the record books," Gonzalez said. "Really, the whole year, there's been steady improvement. Hopefully, he can finish strong and get real consideration for Rookie of the Year."
Coghlan is not worried about how much attention he gets in the NL Rookie of the Year race. Instead, the 24-year-old is focused on helping his team make the postseason.
"Those things aren't in my control," Coghlan said. "What I can control is doing my job here, and that's getting on base any way I can and helping this team win. That's another individual accomplishment that would be cool, but the only thing that matters is wins here and getting in the playoffs."
David Villavicencio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.