Stanton among homer leaders despite injuries

Stanton among homer leaders despite injuries

Stanton among homer leaders despite injuries
MIAMI -- Missed time has made it highly unlikely that Giancarlo Stanton will win the National League home run title.

But finishing second certainly is a strong possibility.

Stanton has made a thunderous return to the lineup after he sat out nine straight games with a sore left intercostal muscle. The 22-year-old homered in each of the first two games against the Phillies.

With 36 homers on the season, Stanton is in sole possession of second place in the National League, trailing only Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, who has 41.

"Every time this kid is at the plate, he's in scoring position," Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Like I say, I don't want long ones, I want a lot of ones. I got both -- a lot and long ones. I'm happy for him."

No Marlin has ever been NL home run champion. Just once has someone finished as high as second -- Gary Sheffield in 1996.

Sheffield set the franchise record with 42 homers in '96, and he ended up tied with San Francisco's Barry Bonds for second. The NL leader that year was Andres Galarraga, who finished with 47 for the Rockies.

What makes Stanton's total so impressive is he's reached 36 in 119 games. He spent a month on the disabled list after undergoing right knee surgery on July 8.

For the first time since June 30-July 1, Stanton has homered in back-to-back games at home. Those shots also were against the Phillies.

Due to his injuries, it would have been easy for Stanton to not risk anything and sit out the rest of the season. But he wanted to finish up on a high note. And he's produced in a big way.

"I'm happy he came back and did it that way," Guillen said. "This kid, besides the home run, he got a base hit up the middle, infield hit. That's something that's a plus. This kid is a good athlete, and hopefully he can finish the next four days.

"Hopefully next year he stays healthy and has a better year."