Chris Coghlan has gone from Rookie of the Year winner to afterthought with Marlins

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Chris Coghlan hit .321 to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2009, but has batted just .252 with a .695 OPS in two seasons since then and spent the final three months of this year in the minors.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post asked Marlins president Larry Beinfest where Coghlan fits into the team’s 2012 plans and the answer seemed to indicate that he doesn’t figure prominently:

It’s been disappointing, really, the last two years. I think this is an important offseason and certainly spring training for Chris to get back to where he was when he won the Rookie of the Year. We still see him coming back as an outfielder and in center field.  He needs to re-establish himself healthy which we anticipate he will be with the knee or knees and come in and compete. We already know he can be an offensive force, a great left-handed hitter.

“Great left-handed hitter” is obviously a stretch and based on his minor-league track record Coghlan was playing over his head quite a bit as a rookie, but he’s also still just 27 years old and at the very least would seem to have a future somewhere as a utility man. Whether that future will be with the Marlins is unclear, because Capozzi writes that they’ll be looking for a new center fielder this offseason and speculates that Coghlan will begin 2012 back in the minors unless he’s traded.

Howie Kendrick to undergo an MRI after exiting game with a serious leg injury

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Update, 7:49 PM ET: The Nationals placed Howie Kendrick on the 10-day disabled list with a right Achilles injury. In a corresponding move, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Double-A Potomac.

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Nationals left fielder Howie Kendrick was removed from the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers after injuring his right leg. In the eighth inning, Kendrick tracked a Max Muncy sac fly to the wall, but landed strangely on his right leg and fell to the ground. Unable to put weight on it, he was forced to exit the field on a cart and was sent to undergo an MRI soon afterward, the results of which have yet to be revealed.

While the Nationals have not specified the nature or severity of Kendrick’s injury, Martinez revealed that it’s located in the “lower part” of the outfielder’s leg and appears to be quite severe. He’ll likely be placed on the 10-day disabled list in the next couple of days, though the recovery process could take even longer.

Prior to the incident, Kendrick was off to a hot start this season. Entering Saturday’s doubleheader, he carried a batting line of .302/.331/.477 with 18 extra-base hits and an .808 OPS in 157 plate appearances. He went 1-for-3 on Saturday with a base hit in the seventh inning. Andrew Stevenson subbed in for Kendrick following the injury and has been tabbed to start in left field for the second game of the doubleheader at 8:05 PM ET.