Stanton ready to push forward

JUPITER, Fla. — At 6-foot-5, 250-pounds, Giancarlo Stanton is a definite presence. What he isn’t going to be on a youthful Marlins’ club is a distraction.

Stanton on Friday addressed his feelings to the media for the first time since the organization made sweeping roster moves. A few months ago, the slugger made it clear he wasn’t happy. That was then, he said. Now it is time to play ball.

“You’re not going to linger on something and cry about it all day,” Stanton said. “You let it be known how you feel, and push forward.”

If Stanton has any bitterness, he didn’t show it while talking to a gathering of reporters at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

“Offseason is my time,” he said. “I’m not really going to dwell on it too much. I got what little words were out there to let it be known, and that was that. We’re here now, and turn the page.”

The 23-year-old, who belted 37 homers a year ago, is ready to do his part to help the Marlins get better.

The offseason moves changed the roster, but also upset many fans.

Asked how to win back the fans, Stanton said: “The team, in general, has never stopped playing hard. To win back those fans we may have lost, it’s more of just showing how hard we’re out there playing and fighting every night.”

A year ago, with a high-priced collection of players, the Marlins slumped to a last-place finish, going 69-93. Now, substantially younger, the team has little expectations.

“We’re going to have to play it out and see how it goes,” Stanton said. “We obviously know the rosters of everybody now. We have guys who are here, and guys we’re not too sure about. It’s more about how we bring them all together, and how we’re going to come as one.”

Stanton is a year away from reaching arbitration and he won’t have the service time to be a free agent until the 2016 season. The Marlins have not approached him about a long-term contract. And the All-Star right fielder didn’t speculate as to whether he would be willing to sign one.

“I haven’t been offered one,” he said. “So that decision isn’t ready yet.

“We know what has to go down. I’m here to win. My competitive level is not going to change at all.”

Stanton missed a month last year after undergoing surgery to his right knee. He is fully healthy and ready for a big season.

“We’re good. We’re ready to go,” he said. “We’ve put all that knee surgery stuff and problems behind me and pushed forward.”

Because of all the moves the Marlins made, people have frequently told Stanton they feel sorry for him. One thing the slugger doesn’t want is sympathy.

“I’m not one to, ‘Hey, everyone, feel sorry for me.’ What is there to feel sorry for me about?” he said. “I’m in the big leagues. I play a game for a living.”

Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

 

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