Stanton to get stitches out Monday

MIAMI — The stitches in Giancarlo Stanton’s right knee are scheduled to be removed on Monday.

It’s another step in the slugger’s road to recovery from arthroscopic surgery that was performed on July 8.

The timeline for Stanton to return remains four to six weeks, that hasn’t changed. But time is becoming crucial for a Marlins’ team struggling to score runs.

With the club sinking in the standings, they hope their playoff hopes remain intact by the time Stanton returns sometime in August.

What the first three games of the series with the Nationals have shown is Stanton is greatly missed.

Miami has scored three runs total, and remarkably won one of them, thanks to Mark Buehrle’s brilliant pitching performance on Saturday.

But on Sunday, the Marlins were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position, and they were shut out for the ninth time this year.

With Stanton out, the Marlins are looking for others to step up.

Many eyes are turning to Hanley Ramirez.

But the former three-time All-Star, like many on the team, is having his own difficulties.

For the season, Ramirez is batting .246 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 87 games.

A year ago, when Ramirez missed substantial time with a left shoulder injury, he finished at .243 average with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 92 games.

Ramirez is pretty closely mirroring those numbers in a season he has been healthy. Entering Monday, he had 334 at-bats, compared to his 338 total in 2011.

In July, Ramirez is 5-for-37 (.135) with one homer and three RBIs.

Ideally, manager Ozzie Guillen would like for Ramirez to hit third, but he noted the third baseman has to earn that place in the lineup. Thus far, he has struggled when not slotted in that prime position.

In 19 games hitting second, he was hitting at a .211 clip in 76 at-bats. Since the All-Star Break, he’s been moved to the fifth spot. The results have been spotty, 2-for-11 (.182).

When he was batting third at the beginning of the season, Ramirez hit .259 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs.

With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the Marlins are scrambling to get back to .500, and into contention.

If they can do that, getting Stanton back will become more imperative. But if the team falls completely out of the race, the club may feel there is no need to rush their most feared hitter.

Joe Frisaro


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