MIAMI -- The Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton are going through a bit of a balancing act. The mission is to find the best way to get the three-time All-Star going at the plate, but at the same time manage his playing time to keep him available for the long haul.
Part of the program involves giving Stanton periodic days off. One of them came on Sunday in a 1-0 win over the Mets at Marlins Park.
Manager Don Mattingly is listening to recommendations from head athletic trainer Dustin Luepker on how best to keep Stanton ready while he continues to mend from a sore right side. The issue recently kept the right fielder out for a week.
"When we started getting him back playing, we were looking at the recovery time and felt like this was the day we wanted to get him out of there," Mattingly said. "It also gives him two days to make sure we're over the physical part of the side and everything. We're trying to be careful with that."
The Marlins have a scheduled off-day on Monday, their first after playing 17 straight days. So Stanton, who is available Sunday, could get two full days off.
It has been a rough year for Stanton, who sports a slash line of .202/.318/.452 with 12 home runs and 27 RBIs in 47 games. In 168 at-bats, he has struck out 68 times.
Over the past few days, Mattingly has adjusted the middle of his lineup. Stanton has slid down from cleanup to fifth in the order, with Marcell Ozuna batting fourth. Ichiro Suzuki started in right field and batted leadoff on Sunday.
Neither the Marlins nor Stanton has specifically said what is ailing the slugger's right side. But thus far, they've been able to avoid a disabled list stint.
But since mid-May, Stanton's body has taken a beating.
On May 15 at Washington, Stanton and Ozuna collided in the outfield. Both were down for several minutes, but they remained in the game. Stanton even homered in his next at-bat.
Since then, Stanton's numbers have tailed off, going 4-for-42 (.095) with one home run, one double, two RBIs and 25 strikeouts.
Because Stanton has been so prolific in the past, Mattingly has repeatedly said he is confident it is only a matter of time before the slugger gets going.
"He's going to find it," Mattingly said. "It's a matter of at-bats and him being healthy and back into the swing of things."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.