Stanton uses fundamentals to fuel rocket arm

Stanton uses fundamentals to fuel rocket arm

MILWAUKEE -- Don't think of a rocket arm a la Roberto Clemente, Vlad Guerrero or Jeff Francoeur when it comes to the throwing abilities of Florida right fielder Mike Stanton.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez says think instead of one of the most fundamentally sound players around.

"He's the whole package," Rodriguez said.

Stanton, who doesn't turn 21 until Nov. 8, picked up his eighth and ninth assists of the season on Friday, with the most impressive of the two coming in the third inning, when he nailed the Brewers' Corey Hart trying to go from first to third on Ryan Braun's single. Stanton's one-hop strike to third baseman Chad Tracy easily nailed Hart. Later in the eighth, Stanton alertly threw out Rickie Weeks at first base after catching a fly ball, when Weeks lost track of the outs in the inning.

That performance only enhanced Stanton's reputation among the Brewers, who found out first hand how dangerous it is to run on him. That showed up in the seventh inning on Saturday, when Brewers third-base coach Brad Fischer threw up the stop sign for Prince Fielder on Craig Counsell's single to right with two outs and the Brewers trailing 2-0. Fielder, not exactly quick on the bases, was on second and heading to third when Stanton fielded Counsell's hit and uncorked a throw just a few feet up the third-base line to home plate. Fielder would have been an easy out if he had tried to score.

"I'm not sure he's a speed burner," Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad said, "but Stanton's got a great arm."

It was the throw that caught Hart that captured Rodriguez's attention. It was the perfect illustration of how an outfielder can charge a ball and come up throwing without any wasted movement. Rodriguez says when you do that, you don't have to have the reputation of a rifleman to be effective.

"He's not only showing accuracy," Rodriguez said, "but he's also showing that he knows where he should be throwing. I didn't think he had a chance [on the Hart play], and it wasn't even close."

Stanton, who joined the Marlins on June 2, is two behind National League-leader Francoeur, who had 11 assists with the New York Mets before moving to Texas earlier this month. Cleveland outfielder Shin-Soo Choo leads the Major Leagues with 13 assists.