Stanton pleased with progress of strained hamstring
All-Star outfielder expecting to return from disabled list on Monday
JUPITER, Fla. -- Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton sat at a locker checking his phone as the Marlins' postgame show aired on the clubhouse TV Wednesday afternoon.
Yet while his teammates were wrapping up a series against the Phillies, the 23-year-old had just taken batting practice more than 1,000 miles away at Roger Dean Stadium.
Less than two hours later, Stanton would go 0-for-3 in his second rehabilitation game with the Class A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League.
Stanton expects to return off the disabled list -- barring any setbacks -- on Monday when the Marlins open a six-game homestand against the Brewers.
Whether Stanton will sit out a game leading up to Monday has not yet been decided. He plans to serve as the designated hitter on Thursday.
"It was fine," Stanton said. "It was a good day. Timing's not an issue. It's more just the speed of the mental part. '[The pitcher] came with this, he's going to come back with this. Runners are on.'"
Slotted into the third spot of the order, Stanton struck out swinging against left-hander Hoby Milner in the first inning. He flied out to right in the third and grounded out to second to lead off the sixth.
Originally scheduled for five innings in right field, Stanton played seven frames in order to get his third at-bat. He even made a diving grab of Carlos Alonso's shot into the right-center gap for the second out of the first.
During his first rehab game on Tuesday, Stanton finished 0-for-3, but all three outs were hit deep to the outfield.
Playing back-to-back days was an accomplishment Stanton hoped to achieve, particularly his movement in between innings from the dugout to outfield.
"Just being on the legs all day and sitting down, going to the outfield and sitting down," Stanton said. "It was wet and stuff, so [I had to] just make sure I stayed level. It felt pretty good."
The 2012 National League All-Star went on the DL on April 30 after straining his right hamstring while running out a slow roller in the 10th inning the night before.
It was ruled a Grade 2 moderate strain with the best-case scenario a return sometime between three and four weeks. Instead, Stanton has missed 34 games. Earlier in the season, he sat out five games with a bruised left shoulder.
On May 22, Stanton took batting practice for the first time. A machine had helped keep his timing until then. Stanton said the biggest hurdle throughout the recovery process has been running.
"Just not being as sore each day, being able to get into your legs doing everything rather than fatiguing halfway through," Stanton said. "That's mainly it. Staying down on ground balls better. Trusting your legs more. It's more the muscle memory now."
Prior to his injury, Stanton was just finding his groove at the plate for a team on pace to score the fewest runs in a big league season. After 72 at-bats without a home run, he knocked three over a two-game span against the Cubs.
In 20 games, he also hit .227 with three doubles and nine RBIs. Before his injury, Stanton drew 12 walks and struck out 26 times.
Two other Marlins players were in the lineup while on rehab assignments.
Donovan Solano, who started 29 games at second base until landing on the disabled list May 7 (retroactive May 6) with a left intercostal strain, hit second and played third base.
A night after finishing 3-for-3 with an RBI, he went 1-for-3 with a single through the hole at short in the third.
When Solano was initially told it would take about a month to recover, he didn't believe it. Three weeks later, the pain had finally left.
"I couldn't do anything -- my oblique was tight and I felt it," Solano said. "I felt the pain. Right now I don't feel that way. I feel better. I think it's time to come back."
Joe Mahoney, who has been on the DL twice this year -- this time with a right hamstring strain since April 30 (retroactive April 28) -- batted cleanup as the designated hitter.
Signed over the offseason as an option at first base during Logan Morrison's absence, Mahoney played in just nine games, going 8-for-29 (.276) with one double, one home run and four RBIs.
Mahoney picked up a hit in three at-bats on Tuesday, but struck out three times in four appearances Wednesday.
Like Stanton, both Solano and Mahoney target Monday as a return date.
"We know how it's been," Stanton said of the club's injuries. "We're all scheduled basically to come back at the same time, too. This will be real interesting. It is what it is."