Stanton making it tough to take him out of lineup

Stanton making it tough to take him out of lineup

Stanton making it tough to take him out of lineup
PHOENIX -- Five home runs already on the road trip is making it difficult to keep Giancarlo Stanton out of the lineup.

For a while, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen considered giving the 22-year-old slugger occasional days off. After all, Stanton underwent surgery on his right knee on July 8, and he was activated from the disabled list on Aug. 7.

"Right now, I'm not looking for a day game, night game," Guillen said. "He's going to play every day. He's missed too much time. We're going by ear."

With a doubleheader slated for Wednesday at Arizona, there is a chance Stanton will not start in one of them.

"Maybe tomorrow, it might be one game, just for prevention," Guillen said.

Stanton has started in nine straight games, and he's heating up. In Monday's 12-3 win over the D-backs, he had two home runs, giving him five on the road trip.

"My body is letting me," said Stanton, who has 26 homers on the season. "I thought I'd need a little more days off, but it's responded well. The day game [Sunday at Colorado], it was a little tired. But it's still feeling pretty good."

Despite missing a month, Stanton is tied for third in the National League in home runs. He and Arizona's Jason Kubel each have 26. Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals is second with 28, and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun has a league-high 33.

Stanton has a shot at winning the home run title, despite appearing in 93 games compared to 113 for Braun.

"There is no doubt," Guillen said. "If that guy stays healthy, even in the ballpark that we play."

Marlins Park is one of the most difficult places to hit home runs. It ranks 26th in total homers of the 30 MLB stadiums.

According to spray chart information, Stanton has hit seven balls to the warning track at Marlins Park that would have been out of many other buildings. Three of those drives resulted in doubles, while four were long outs.

Fourteen of Stanton's home runs have come on the road, where he has played in six less games than in Miami.

"This kid has a chance to become a tremendous, spectacular ballplayer," Guillen said. "Because, when this kid learns how to hit, and how they're going to pitch to him, he's going to be very fun to watch.

"Right now, he's still learning about baseball. He's chasing bad pitches. When he chases bad pitches, that's when he gets into trouble. Let the guy pitch to you. That comes with experience. That comes with more games playing. That comes with knowing the league better, the pitchers better. That comes with whoever hits behind him. When this kid starts learning all those little things, wow, wow! He's going to become a very dangerous hitter."

Stanton has put on a clinic on the road. In Colorado a few days ago, he smashed a drive estimated at 494 feet, which makes it the longest shot of the season.

"When I got this job, I remember people saying how far this kid can hit the ball," Guillen said. "I said, 'I don't need far. I need a lot.' I'm seeing both."