NEW YORK -- Third-base coach Joe McEwing spent time working with Marcus Semien during Spring Training, but they were focused on improving the young man's defensive game at shortstop.
"We worked on attacking the ball and not staying back," said McEwing of the defensive improvements made by Semien. "He would stay back on the ball. He'd get flat-footed and he wouldn't play through balls, and then a lot of balls would come up and take some bad hops on him.
"At third, it was a lot smoother because there was no reaction time. Balls were hit and he just reacted. He didn't have that long pause to make a decision. He worked his butt off and I'm so happy for him."
Semien also worked in-season at third base, playing 23 games there between Triple-A Charlotte and Double-A Birmingham. Third base is where Semien made his big league debut on Wednesday and could be his way to the Majors in '14.
"When this situation arose, when he got his call, he could go out and help us in any possible way," McEwing said. "The thing I really enjoyed was the questions he was asking. He wanted to learn. He wanted to get better. It's really refreshing to see."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.