Recovering Stanton takes pain-free swings

Marlins slugger returning from broken left hamate bone

Recovering Stanton takes pain-free swings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The sound of thunder has returned to the batting cage. Giancarlo Stanton recently revved up his hitting program near his home in Southern California, and the reverberations made it all the way to South Florida.

All signs point to the slugger swinging the bat pain-free, which is about as encouraging as any news the Marlins have been able to enjoy this offseason. The club can't wait to hear the exploding sound of the ball off Stanton's bat when he takes his cuts in Spring Training.

Recovering from a broken left hamate bone, Stanton was shut down from swinging the bat in late September. Last week, he was in the cages for the first time, and it was back to business for the three-time All-Star right fielder.

"He took 60 swings off the tee, which is just part of his first step in his offseason hitting program," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "He said he felt great."

When healthy, Stanton is among the most feared hitters in the game. The problem has been keeping the 26-year-old on the field.

Stanton was voted by the fans as an All-Star starter in the National League in 2015, but his injury prevented him from participating. On June 26, the slugger broke his hamate bone on a swing, and surgery was performed two days later.

Recovery time was estimated at four to six weeks, but Stanton ended up missing the remainder of the year. He had issues with scar tissue, and he experienced numbness in his left ring finger and pinkie.

Marlins shut down Stanton

Stanton appeared in 74 games, but he packed a wallop when in the lineup, belting 27 homers and driving in 67 runs. He was leading the Majors in both categories when he went on the disabled list.

In 2016, Stanton, who has 181 career home runs in 708 games, will work with Barry Bonds, MLB's all-time home run king. Bonds was named Miami's hitting coach last Friday.

"I don't need to tell Stanton much," Bonds said. "He's a great ballplayer. He's a great hitter. All we need to do is tweak a couple of little things here and there, keep him motivated and keep moving."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.