HR has left the building: Stanton's bat dazzles

Slugger's second home run in as many days clears clubhouse

March 24th, 2016

JUPITER, Fla. -- Terrence Floyd was sitting at a picnic table outside the Marlins' clubhouse next to the batting cages when he was startled by the sound of a bouncing baseball. From seemingly nowhere, it rolled in his direction.

When Giancarlo Stanton connects, you never know where the ball may land. In Thursday's 8-4 loss to the Twins, it happened to be over the Marlins' office/clubhouse building and close to Floyd.

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Stanton gave us another "Do you believe that?" moment. In the process, Floyd collected an improbable souvenir.

Waiting for his high school buddy, Marlins pitcher Edwin Jackson, Floyd retrieved Stanton's latest launch.

"I'm waiting, and next thing, I'm like, 'Man, somebody is throwing a baseball at somebody,'" said Floyd, who attended Shaw High School with Jackson in Columbus, Ga.

After finding out it was a Stanton home run, Floyd joked: "Whoever hit this, boy, they must have been mad."

It's been mostly a quiet Spring Training for Stanton -- until the past two days. On Wednesday, in his 17th Grapefruit League at-bat, he homered for the first time. The three-time All-Star followed that up with his blast off Minnesota lefty Tommy Milone in the sixth inning Thursday.

"Pretty impressed," Milone said. "Obviously, you know how big and strong he is, but to actually see it in person is pretty impressive. Obviously, it's not ideal to be the pitcher that gives it up. At that point, you've got to sit and watch and admire the kind of strength he has."

To the Marlins, it's nothing new. Stanton is the franchise's all-time home run leader with 181 in 708 games. He belted 27 in 74 games last year, including one drive that was knocked out of Dodger Stadium.

"There are baseballs all over courtyards and parking lots all over the country from that guy," Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich said.

Homers tend to come in bunches for Stanton, who now has gone deep twice in his past four at-bats.

"Just capitalizing on yesterday's at-bats," the slugger said. "Don't ask me how far it went because I don't care."

Estimated distances aren't given at Roger Dean Stadium, but Marlins president David Samson offered some perspective.

Counting his days with the Montreal Expos, Samson has been part of 17 Spring Trainings at Roger Dean Stadium. To his recollection, Stanton is the first player to hit the ball over the Marlins' building in a game. Many, including Stanton, have done it in batting practice.

"I've got to stay locked in," Stanton said. "If I get caught up in those and I try to hit it further and further, that brings me out of my game."

As impressive as the home run was, what's encouraging for the Marlins is the slugger is heating up at the right time, close to Opening Day.

"It's really fun to watch him hit the ball a long way. It's crazy," manager Don Mattingly said. "I don't want to be a fly in your guy's ointment, but I'm just kind of watching at-bats to see if they're good or they're bad."