Healthy Stanton: No more time for excuses

February 20th, 2016

MIAMI -- The most impactful everyday player on the Marlins is back. He's bigger and stronger than ever, and most importantly, he's healthy.

Giancarlo Stanton, now 26, is fully recovered from the broken left hamate bone that limited him to just 74 games a year ago. When Miami's full-squad workouts get underway on Tuesday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., Stanton will be at full speed.

"Man, it's been a while," Stanton told the media on Saturday at FanFest at Marlins Park. "I'm excited to get out there, start it up again and get the everyday grind going."

It's been a rough go for Stanton, health-wise, the past few seasons. His 2015 campaign, which was shaping up as a monster year, was cut short when he fractured a bone in his left hand swinging the bat.

Stanton was unable to return, and Miami finished 71-91. In less than half a season, the slugger still blasted 27 homers and drove in 67 runs. This coming a year after Stanton missed the final three weeks after being struck in the face with a pitch.

Freakish injuries occur. They seem to inflict the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Stanton often. But he's been swinging the bat pain-free since mid-December. Rest proved the best remedy.

"I gave it a long rest, strengthening period, and I haven't had any problems since," the three-time All-Star right fielder said. "To be honest, I did just about everything I could to strengthen it [last summer]. None of that worked. It really just needed to sit and do nothing. That was the best for it."

Stanton pushed to return in 2015. But he repeatedly had setbacks, feeling numbness in his left pinkie and ring fingers.

"Trying to come back and aggravating it over and over again every couple of days just made the timetable longer," he said. "After that good rest period, I really have not had any problems since I started hitting."

First bullpen has Opening Day feel for Jose

If the Marlins are to contend, they will certainly need Stanton leading the way.

The organization looked to change the culture in the offseason and brought in manager Don Mattingly, who led the Dodgers to three straight National League West titles, and hitting coach Barry Bonds.

The core of the team is back as well. Stanton, who has never experienced a winning season since breaking in as a rookie in 2010, says the time to talk is over. It's time to produce.

"We've gone through every excuse in the book -- [we're] young, new people, this and that," Stanton said. "There's no more time for that. We have our core. We have our set lineup. Just about everyone was here from last year, except the coaching staff. We've got to put it together, man."

The Marlins feel they have the right chemistry in place to make for a fun season.

"If you don't have it inside [the clubhouse], it's not going to come together between the lines," Stanton said.

Bloom: Bonds era begins in Miami

Stanton, Miami's all-time home run leader with 181, is also eager to work with Bonds, MLB's home run king.

"It's definitely going to be great for me and the whole team to pick his brain, and learn from what he's gone through, and how the game has changed since, too," Stanton said. "It will help with all that."

A Dodgers fan growing up in Southern California, Stanton used to fight with his brother over Bonds' rookie baseball cards.

"I still have a couple that I stole from him in my house," Stanton said. "It's cool. It's great. Everyone is excited to have him here. I'm looking forward to getting to work."