He’s versatile. That was supposed to be the big selling point of Enrique Hernandez.
Only hearing it and seeing it are two very different things. And right now, everyone is getting a strong early look at just how useful Hernandez can be.
Wednesday he started at shortstop and went two for three with a two-run homer. Saturday he started in center, made a sprinting, over-the-shoulder basket catch before crashing into the wall, and doubled.
Hernandez "is really showing how versatile he is,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “He is a valuable guy.”
Hernandez was one of four Marlins to come to the Dodgers in an off-season trade for Dee Gordon, Dan Haren and Austin Barnes. He opened the season with triple-A Oklahoma City, but since being called up April 28, has been trying to make a case to stick in Los Angeles as a utility man.
“That’s the opening that’s here now,” Hernandez said. “Just play all over the field. I’m just trying to make the most of the opportunity.”
In his first 11 games, Hernandez is batting .296 (eight for 27). He has played second, short and all three outfield positions. He’s a good enough infielder and looked like a superior outfielder running straight back on a Michael McKenry drive in the fourth inning to make a basket catch before running into the center-field wall.
“We’re awaiting the results of the MRI that they’re running on the wall,” he said. “Hopefully the wall is doing OK, but I’m doing good.”
He’s 23 years old and already comfortable in front of the media. That’s versatility. And now he’s shown he can get a great jump on the ball over his head in deep center.
“I knew he got a bead on it,” Mattingly said. “I didn’t know if he was going to run out of real estate.”
Greinke had a different initial reaction.
“He was running straight back and somehow he caught it,” Greinke said. “I thought it was going to be a homer and it ended up being an out.”
He did, however, bruise a knee running into the wall, though he finished the game.
“The knee’s OK,” he said.
And as we’re continuing to learn, so is Hernandez.