Stanton's knee passes test in return to lineup

Slugger hitless in 2 plate appearances, plays 6 innings in RF vs. Mets

Stanton's knee passes test in return to lineup

JUPITER, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton was, as he put it, "bouncing around everywhere" on Sunday in his return to the Marlins' lineup after being sidelined with a sore right knee for the past week.

Stanton went 0-for-1 with a walk at the plate in the 11-0 loss to the Mets, but most importantly he played right field for six innings and health-wise appeared to come out of it with nothing but positive results. He slipped on the warning track chasing down a double by the Mets' Alejandro De Aza in the top of the fifth inning, but after the game, Stanton said he experienced no problem with his knee.

"I felt pretty good, bouncing around everywhere," said Stanton, who had four putouts in right field.

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The Marlins slugger, who missed the second half of last season with a broken hamate bone, originally was penciled in Sunday's lineup as the designated hitter, but trotted out to right field when the Marlins took the field in the top of the first.

"He wanted to be able to test it and kind of do everything, so he picked a good day for it," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

"I wanted to get a quicker gauge [of how the knee would respond]," Stanton explained of his decision to also play in the field. "Just sitting around and [being the] DH is not a good gauge for the situation like that. If it was something else, DH would be ideal, but I wanted to be out there [in the field]."

Stanton's knee first was tested in the top of the second when he sprinted in to snag a shallow pop fly by De Aza. Stanton then led off the Marlins half of the second with a walk from Mets starter Matt Harvey, but was thrown out attempting to steal second in what Mattingly said was a missed sign.

Mattingly on Stanton, pitchers

"Not a big deal, but still it wasn't something I wanted to do," Mattingly said of the attempted steal.

The Marlins are off on Monday, so it will be Tuesday before Stanton can test the knee again in a game situation, provided he feels no ill effects.

"He got tested, that's for sure," Mattingly said. "He kind of did everything. Got on base, ran pretty much all directions. We'll find out how he does over the day off. Hopefully, he's good and we'll just go from there. The fact that he was able to do everything, he looked like he was running pretty good. If he can keep going, there's no question he'll be ready to go [Opening Day]."

Despite going hitless in his return, Stanton said he's confident he'll regain his groove soon.

"It takes a little bit to feel the way you want to at the plate, so anytime you can get there and work on that is good," he said. "Timing is fine. Just got to stay back for the offspeed and fastball out away. Great day all around."

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.