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Enjoy the show: Stanton a can't-miss performer

Tanaka takes step forward in rehab; Cole begins Minors assignment
MLB.com @BryanHoch

PHILADELPHIA -- Though Giancarlo Stanton awed his teammates with a phenomenal batting practice display of light-tower power this week at Citizens Bank Park, the Yankees' slugger is more excited about what he has been doing after the bell rings for the game.

"I'm having better at-bats; making better contact more often," Stanton said. "I've got some bad choppers in there, but [I'm] still putting the ball in play. It's been calmer. Trusting my approach more, having a better approach."

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PHILADELPHIA -- Though Giancarlo Stanton awed his teammates with a phenomenal batting practice display of light-tower power this week at Citizens Bank Park, the Yankees' slugger is more excited about what he has been doing after the bell rings for the game.

"I'm having better at-bats; making better contact more often," Stanton said. "I've got some bad choppers in there, but [I'm] still putting the ball in play. It's been calmer. Trusting my approach more, having a better approach."

View Full Game Coverage

Stanton entered play on Wednesday slashing .432/.490/.795 (19-for-44) with four home runs and 10 RBIs over his last 11 games.

Manager Aaron Boone said that he believes the hot streak is a continuation of the roll Stanton started by slugging a game-winning home run that toppled the Mariners one week ago at Yankee Stadium.

Video: SEA@NYY: Stanton hits walk-off 117.9-mph, 453-foot HR

"I think the exciting thing is, he's starting to have a lot more consistent at-bats," Boone said. "I think getting into a good place physically, being on time, I think he's getting into that good hitting position more and more consistently. When that happens, he's special."

Stanton said that he has made some small adjustments to how he prepares for games and studies the opposing pitchers, but that his stance has remained unchanged. Regardless, anyone who was in the building for Stanton's pregame session prior to Wednesday's 6-0 Yankees win over the Phillies will not soon forget the show.

A series of balls were mashed toward Ashburn Alley by Stanton and Aaron Judge, and Stanton capped the performance with a drive that clipped a light tower in left-center field before landing on the second deck, where it was retrieved by a fan.

"I haven't hit one to that angle here before," Stanton said. "I've hit a lot here in BP, but I haven't hit one like that."

The Yankees were appreciatively cheered as they left the field at the end of BP. Stanton said that he has not yet thought about participating in the upcoming T-Mobile Home Run Derby, but his swing sure looks ready for the exhibition.

"It's pretty cool, actually. Very cool," Stanton said. "Switches up a little bit from just practicing and getting our work in. Put a little show on for them."

Comeback trail
Masahiro Tanaka (strained hamstrings) will throw either in a simulated game or a Minor League rehab game on Friday, moving one step closer to rejoining the Yanks' rotation. Tanaka was injured running the bases in a June 8 game at Citi Field, at which time general manager Brian Cashman said that he expected Tanaka to miss a month.

Video: NYY@NYM: Tanaka feels stiffness in legs after scoring

A.J. Cole (right neck strain) joined Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, beginning a Minor League rehabilitation assignment. Cole has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 21, retroactive to June 20.

It's on Draft
With the Yankees signing sixth-round right-hander Rodney Hutchison, 12th-round outfielder Matt Pita, 13th-round right-hander Isaiah Pasteur and 32nd-round infielder Sincere Smith, the club has now signed each of its first 16 picks, 21 of its first 22, and 30 of 40 overall selections in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Yankees Draft Tracker

This date in Yankees history
June 27, 1978: Graig Nettles hit a game-winning two-run homer off Dick Drago in the 14th inning at Yankee Stadium, giving the Yankees a 6-4 victory over the Red Sox. Sparky Lyle picked up the win with three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton