Stanton to wear protective face guard in camp
Marlins slugger suffered facial fractures after being hit by a pitch in September
MIAMI -- Physically and mentally, Giancarlo Stanton is ready to start Spring Training later this month with no restrictions. But to make sure there is no hesitation, Miami's two-time All-Star right fielder will wear a protective guard on his helmet.
In his offseason workouts, Stanton tested his new gear, and he is expected to be ready to go when Marlins position players begin workouts on Feb. 24 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.
Stanton suffered multiple facial fractures, plus dental damage, after being struck by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11.
Stanton's recovery has gone according to schedule. But in an interview with Peter Gammons that aired last week on MLB Network, the slugger revealed some additional dental work still needs to be done, and he doesn't have complete feeling in a small section of his lip. Stanton was featured on "The Offseason: Hope in Chicago and Miami," which is part of the "MLB Network Presents" series.
Aside from some minor issues stemming from the incident, Stanton is set to report to Spring Training.
"There's no concerns on our part," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We've worked closely with Giancarlo and the helmet manufacturer. He will wear a half-cage to protect the injured area. He's worked out with it."
Miami sports one of the top outfields in the National League, with Christian Yelich in left, Marcell Ozuna in center and Stanton in right. The club also added veteran depth with the free-agent signing of Ichiro Suzuki.
When Stanton signed his record-setting 13-year, $325 million contract on Nov. 19, he spoke briefly about wearing a protective helmet piece. He will test it in Spring Training, and barring any issues with comfort or vision, Stanton will continue to wear it during the year.
"All season I'll wear it, given it is comfortable vision-wise," Stanton said the day he signed. "Just to rule out any type of doubt. We'll see after the first year."
St. Louis right fielder Jason Heyward has been wearing a face guard since he was hit in the face by a pitch in August 2013.
Heyward and Stanton were part of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft class, and both made their MLB debuts in 2010. The two are friends, and Stanton reached out to Heyward earlier in the offseason to discuss the specialized helmet.
Once Spring Training gets underway, the Marlins are confident their power-hitting right fielder will quickly regain his All-Star form.
"There are no issues that will prevent him from being ready and 100 percent for Spring Training and a productive 2015," Hill said.