Hechavarria makes big league debut

Hechavarria makes big league debut

OAKLAND -- After he was unable to make it to Toronto last September due to visa problems, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria finally got the call to the big leagues on Friday night. He made his debut in Saturday's game against the A's, playing third base and hitting ninth.

The promotion came after regular third baseman Brett Lawrie was forced out of Friday's game due to a strained ribcage.

Hechavarria said that it "feels wonderful" to be in the Majors -- and he certainly earned his callup, hitting .312 for Triple-A Las Vegas this season. Blue Jays manager John Farrell said he was impressed by the improvement Hechavarria showed in Spring Training this year, and the 23-year-old does appear to have more offensive punch now. He hadn't hit higher than .273 in any of his stops below Triple-A.

"I feel like I've improved a lot from last year," Hechavarria said through his translator. "People have noticed that, and I hope that I continue getting better."

In making his debut, Hechavarria started at a position that he had never previously played, having spent most of his time as a shortstop in the Minors. But Farrell wasn't overly concerned about that, noting that his athleticism should help the rookie adapt quickly.

"He's an exciting young player," Farrell said prior to Saturday's game. "What he showed in Spring Training was a huge improvement over a year ago, and this has been a guy who, if you look at his past, every level he's been elevated, he's responded in a strong way. We're looking forward to him starting today."

Hechavarria went 0-for-3 with a walk.