JUPITER – Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler was doing a television interview when Giancarlo Stanton got into a Trevor Rosenthal pitch for his first home run of the spring.
Koehler’s call: “Big Fella goes boom!”
Stanton wasn’t impressed.
“I told him ‘boom goes the dynamite would have been better,”’ Stanton said.
Whatever the call, the Marlins $325 million man was happy to finally see something resembling the swing he is looking to take into the regular season. The home run was the first Stanton has hit in a game since June 24. Two days later, Stanton broke a bone in his left hand during an at bat, ending his season.
“It’s good to get on top of a fastball that I seemed to pop up the past couple of weeks,” Stanton said after the Marlins’ 4-1 loss Wednesday to the Cardinals.
Stanton, though, has an excuse. He’s had just 17 at bats after missing about a week because of knee soreness. He is hitting .235 with two RBI. He was 1 for 3 Wednesday.
“I’m roughly where I’m (usually) at,” he said. “I’ve had only 17 at bats. That’s not where I’d usually be but I don’t necessarily need a certain amount of at bats, rather a feel in the spring.”
Still, Stanton is looking to refine that powerful swing in the next 13 days leading up to the April 5 opener against Detroit in Miami.
“Just a few more of those, not homers, hitting fastballs hard,” he said when asked what he’s like to achieve.
“Just to be on top of fastballs,” “Popping them up means you’re either late or dipping a little bit. That’s the first sign of your midseason slumps, which is normal this time. Get on top of one especially in the mid-90s. … that’s a good test. I’m glad I had some velocity today to test it.”
Manager Don Mattingly said Stanton will get plenty of at bats in the final nine exhibition games.
“He just needs at bats,” Mattingly said. “I think you’ll see him having batter swings.”