Stanton super-sizes HR over two fences
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — It’s not every day a player clears two outfield fences with one swing. But Giancarlo Stanton isn’t your typical slugger.
Stanton supersized his two-run homer on Monday afternoon in Miami’s 11-1 win over the Mets at Tradition Field. His blast to left cleared not only the main field wall, but the ball landed in the outfield of Field 7 at the complex.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder has always tended to hit home runs in bunches. Now, in two straight games, he has connected. On Sunday, in a 3-1 loss to the Tigers, he smacked a homer off the Marlins’ building behind the wall at Roger Dean Stadium.
Stanton has enjoyed a strong spring, batting .364 after going 1-for-3 with a walk on Monday.
Stanton’s approach is to blister more line drives, because a year ago, he tended to pop up in a season where not much went right.
“I need to get back to that,” Stanton said of hitting liners. “Last year was the most I’ve ever popped up to the infield or the catcher, or first base foul ball or third base foul. Now, I need to get back to, where, if I’m going to miss [a pitch], I want to miss it on the ground. On pop ups, you have no chance. Ground balls, those will separate, and get things started.”
Overall, 2013 was a rough year for the Marlins and Stanton.
“There was so much stuff going on last year,” he said.
Nineteen-hit attack: The Marlins pounded out 19 hits on Monday, and their pitching also stood out.
“I thought our approach was great,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We took our walks, especially off [Bartolo] Colon. It ended up paying off for us, too.”
Reed Johnson, vyying for a backup outfield spot, went 5-for-5 with a double.
DeSclafani stands out: Anthony DeSclafani got his first taste of a Grapefruit League game, and the right-hander made the most of it. DeSclafani, who also was part of the 2012 mega-trade with Toronto, threw two scoreless innings, striking out two. Wherever he has pitched, he has performed. He projects to be part of Double-A Jacksonville’s rotation, but he may also move to Triple-A New Orleans, and possibly could reach the big leagues this year. DeSclafani also could swing as a starter or reliever.
“The only thing I can control is just the way I throw, whether I’m starting or relieving,” he said. “Coming in relief there kind of felt like college a little bit. It brought me back to my college days. I hadn’t relieved in a while. It was fun.”
Hand works out of trouble: Brad Hand didn’t have the ideal way to start a game, but it worked out anyway. The lefty loaded the bases with no outs on Monday, and recovered to strike out three straight. The lefty gave up three hits, walked one and struck out five. His next start will be on Saturday against the Yankees in Panama.
“It’s pretty exciting, I’ve never been there, so it should be fun,” Hand said. “It doesn’t really matter who you’re facing, it’s another Major League team.”
Hand is out of options and he is competing for either a starting or relief role.
“I can’t really control anything,” Hand said. “I’m just going to go out this spring and pitch well, and see what happens.”
Injuries: Rafael Furcal (lefty hamstring strain) and Jeff Baker (left quad strain). Both were shaken up on Monday.
— Joe Frisaro