Jeremy Hermida has been a pleasant surprise in an otherwise difficult season for Florida, batting .284 with 14 homers with 49 RBIs in 334 at-bats heading into the Marlins' weekend series in Philadelphia. The Atlanta native, who bats left-handed, hit .353 in August after hitting .338 in July. Hermida recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:

MLBPLAYERS.com: Can you recap your season so far?

Hermida: We've been up and down this season. This team has played hard. We've suffered through a lot of injuries. We're in a bit of a skid right now, but we're not giving up. It's something we take pride in. There's a ways to go so we'll see what happens with the rest of the year.

MLBPLAYERS.com: At the start of the season you suffered a knee injury. Did that slow you down initially?

Hermida: My injury was a freak thing that I had no control over. You just have to take something positive from it and learn something. You try not to make up for lost time and just get back into the swing of things. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team win.

MLBPLAYERS.com: When you think about that injury and the health problems you went through last year, how do you not let it creep into your mind that you could be snakebit, so to speak?

Hermida: I don't think I'm cursed with injuries or anything like that. It was just a couple of freak accidents that happened. It's part of the game and unfortunately I ran into a few of them early on in my career. I take pride in taking care of my body and trying to be healthy. These things just happen and you have to work around them.

MLBPLAYERS.com: Injuries aside, last year you played in 99 games. What did you learn the most from that season?

Hermida: I feel that I learned a lot about the game, both on and off the field last year. It takes some people a little bit longer to get their legs underneath them, so to speak, and I think last year was invaluable to me in that respect. Having that starting job last season made a huge difference.

MLBPLAYERS.com: You were one of many young Marlins to "break in" last season. How special of an experience was that for you?

Hermida: Though this is a young team, I couldn't have asked for a better experience in breaking into the bigs. We had a lot of fun last year. Having so many guys go though the same situation at the same time was special. It was great to have all these guys around you who are going through the same things as you. You could feed off all the guys and talk with them. It was special. It made the environment in the clubhouse something you looked forward to every day.

MLBPLAYERS.com: Is there one person who you are really close with as a result of that experience?

Hermida: Not really. I am friends with every one of them.

MLBPLAYERS.com: Off the field, where are you from and how much baseball did you watch?

Hermida: I was born and raised in Georgia. I was a huge Braves fan growing up, but not so much anymore because we're in the same division with them.

MLBPLAYERS.com: Is it strange now to play against the Braves?

Hermida: Initially it was a little weird playing the Braves but now I'm used to it. It was something special to play against a group of guys who you grew up admiring. The fact that I had earned the right to go out on the field and face guys like Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones was very special to me. It was an amazing feeling to go back to the stadium where I used to go a kid and play against the Braves.

Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.