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Stanton has adventurous debut in left field

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Though Giancarlo Stanton had an adventurous first afternoon patrolling left field, the Yankees remain positive about the ongoing spring experiment, pointing to the solid work that the reigning National League MVP Award winner has been clocking on the back fields of the team's complex in recent weeks.

Stanton had difficulty tracking fly balls against the sun in the Yankees' 9-1 Grapefruit League loss to the Rays on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, most notably a Jake Bauers second-inning double that clanged off Stanton's glove and Kevin Kiermaier's fourth-inning ground-rule double that bounced on the warning track.

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Though Giancarlo Stanton had an adventurous first afternoon patrolling left field, the Yankees remain positive about the ongoing spring experiment, pointing to the solid work that the reigning National League MVP Award winner has been clocking on the back fields of the team's complex in recent weeks.

Stanton had difficulty tracking fly balls against the sun in the Yankees' 9-1 Grapefruit League loss to the Rays on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, most notably a Jake Bauers second-inning double that clanged off Stanton's glove and Kevin Kiermaier's fourth-inning ground-rule double that bounced on the warning track.

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"I felt all right," Stanton said. "I got some bad balls that didn't help the team at all. Got to find a way to get behind them or do something with those. But I felt all right. The routes and everything were good. The rest, not as."

Video: TB@NYY: Kiermaier slugs an RBI ground-rule double

Stanton -- who finished hitless in three at-bats -- also played a fifth-inning Brandon Snyder single cautiously, permitting it to drop in front of him.

Though Stanton didn't appear in left field over his eight previous seasons with the Marlins, the Yankees are toying with the idea, hoping to add to the versatility of their outfield alignment. Manager Aaron Boone said that he looked at Stanton's afternoon as "kind of a positive."

"He picked about as tough a day to play outfield as you can have in Florida," Boone said. "There were a lot of balls falling out there. There were infielders struggling to catch popups. It was just one of those sun days with the wind blowing. I thought on both balls that he lost the ball in the sun on at the end, we were really excited about the routes."

Video: TB@NYY: Boone on Green's outing, Stanton's play

Stanton said that the sun was more of an issue for him than the wind. He will get another chance to play left field again on Tuesday, when the Yankees visit the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.

During the early weeks of camp, Stanton and Aaron Judge have both been working with outfield coach Reggie Willits, taking fly balls in left and center as well as their more regular position of right field. The idea is that one of the players will be able to spell Brett Gardner at times, likely against a tough left-handed starter.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I felt worse in the box my first ABs than I did my first time in left," Stanton said. "It's a process. That's fine."

Boone said that he considered Sunday's effort to be "a good start in the process."

"At the end of the day, I also want and need and expect him to feel comfortable out there," Boone said. "That's why both he and Aaron are all part of this process. I saw nothing today that didn't keep me from still being optimistic."

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

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton