Hechevarria finally settling in

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:04 PM ET

Former major-league shortstop Luis Rivera answered his phone in his Trenton, N.J., hotel room.

The New Hampshire manager was asked how the next Luis Rivera doing?

“If he’s going to be the next Luis Rivera, he’s going to be in trouble,” Rivera said jokingly. “Adeiny Hechavarria is going to be a lot better than Luis Rivera ever was.”

Hechavarria, a Cuban defector the Blue Jays signed for $10 million US, hit .193 with a .212 on-base percentage and a piddling .509 OPS in his first 41 games at Dunedin.

Promoted to the Eastern League, Hechavarria has hit in nine of his past 10 games, including two hits in Friday’s 10-3 win, batting .366 (15-for-41) with two doubles, a homer and five RBIs. He has also had an 11-game hitting streak.

“He’s swinging the bat a lot better, taking pitches, learning the strike zone,” said Rivera, who played 13 years in the majors with the Red Sox, Expos, Royals, Mets and Astros.

“Now, he’s taking more pitches, laying off the breaking balls he was swinging at when he arrived a month or so,” Rivera said. “When he swings, he swings at good pitches. Plus, he’s feeling more comfortable — he talks and jokes with the North American guys and the Latino guys.”

Was Hechavarria, 21, upset when the Jays dealt Alex Gonzalez to the Atlanta Braves for Yunel Escobar, 27 which could impede Hechavarria’s path to Roger Centre?

“I don’t even know if he knows that we got Escobar. He has never mentioned it to me,” Rivera said.

Hechevarria is hitting .304 with eight doubles, a triple, a homer and 12 RBIs in 28 games.

Leading the minors

J.P. Arencibia ended a five-game homer drought Friday with his 30th of the season in a 12-9 Las Vegas win over Reno. The catcher hit a solo homer in the fourth. Since June 1, Arencibia, who figures to be a September call-up, has 22 homers and 51 RBIs, batting .350.

Arencibia had been in a tie with the minor-league lead with Dan Johnson of

triple-A Durham Bulls, Jerry Sands of double-A Chattanooga and Paul Goldschmidt of class-A Visalia.

LEADING OFF

Centre fielder Darin Mastroianni leads the Eastern League with 79 runs scored. He’s also 34-for-41 stealing bases.

“He does a great job as a leadoff guy,” Rivera said. “Usually you don’t see too many successful leadoff, hitters who are right-handed.”

Rivera said Mastroianni is usually clocked at 4.0 and 4.1 seconds to first base.

“He can steal a base,” Rivera said. “He has short legs. Every time he takes a step, he makes up ground quickly. He kicks dirt up when he runs.”

LEADING THE LEAGUE

Third baseman Mark Sobolewski had two doubles and three homers to earn Florida State player of the week honours as he hit .423. Meanwhile, RHP Joel Carreno’s July continues to be impressive as he went 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA, striking out 38 in 26 innings.

BRIEFLY

At New Hampshire, outfielder Eric Thames is an MVP candidate for the Fisher Cats, who went into play Saturday 1½ games behind first-place Trenton. Thames is hitting .287 with 21 homers and 81 RBIs in 102 games ... Right-hander Kyle Drabek, sits second in the league in innings pitched. Said Rivera: “He’s not one of those guys who sits around thinking: ‘When am I going to triple-A?’ He gets ready for his next start.” ... With Brett Wallace moved in the deal for outfielder Anthony Gose, it opens up the logjam for first baseman David Cooper. “Cooper knows he has to do better before he gets promoted,” Rivera said. Cooper is hitting .245 with 24 doubles, 15 homers and 59 RBIs in 100 games. New Hampshire was taking batting practice when news came. “Hey we just traded Wallace.” Said Rivera: “I think only one of our guys has seen him — he’s so young.”

ON THE FARM

Outfielder Brad Glenn hit for the cycle for Lansing in a 9-5 win against Clinton on Monday. Glenn singled in the first, hit a solo homer in the third, No. 11, hit his 14th double in the fifth, hit a two-run triple in the seventh and walked in the eighth. Catcher A. J. Jimenez singled Thursday for a 6-5 walk-off win against Clinton to score Kevin Nolan with the game winner.

Minor-league movements: The Marlins moved Mississauga reliever Chris Leroux to triple-A New Orleans; the Padres shifted lefty Mark Hardy of Campbell River, B.C., to class-A Lake Elsinore.

n Activated: The Orioles put Toronto’s Sammie Starr on their class-A Aberdeen roster, while the Dodgers put Cambridge’s Jeff Hunt at the rookie-class Gulf Coast League roster and Kleinburg’s Randy Schwartz came off the disabled list at Lansing.


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