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Stanton homers in first rehab appearance

@Sportsgal25
May 20, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- For the first time in what seemed like forever, Giancarlo Stanton was back in the game. Smaller stage? Sure, but no way the injured Yankees outfielder was complaining on Monday. “It was good,” said Stanton, who homered in his return to action, a six-inning stint for the

TAMPA, Fla. -- For the first time in what seemed like forever, Giancarlo Stanton was back in the game.

Smaller stage? Sure, but no way the injured Yankees outfielder was complaining on Monday.

“It was good,” said Stanton, who homered in his return to action, a six-inning stint for the Class A Advanced Tampa Tarpons during a rehab start at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “Good to get some defensive things and get some at-bats, too.”

Stanton struck out in a six-pitch at-bat in the first inning, sent a 2-1 offering off the batter’s eye in the third for a solo home run and rounded out his day with a four-pitch strikeout in the sixth. He played six innings in right field, fielding a ground ball on a base hit and throwing it into second base in the fourth.

Stanton also spent about 15 minutes hitting in the batting cage beneath the field after leaving the game and reported no issues. He’s slated to DH on Tuesday in Tampa and play on Wednesday, after which he’ll check in with Yankees manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman to determine the next step.

While there is no definite timetable for his return, Stanton hinted it wasn’t far away.

“We're rolling with the games,” Stanton said. “Once I'm ready, I'll just pop up there.”

Stanton has been out since the end of March, first with a left biceps strain (which has since healed), and more recently with a left shoulder strain that required a cortisone injection on April 22. He has been working out at the Yankees' player development complex in Tampa, hitting off live pitching and participating in defensive drills, but Monday was his first taste of game action.

According to Stanton, that day couldn’t come soon enough. Neither can the next step.

“There's no [set number of] games [for me to play]," Stanton said. “When I'm ready, I'm going to go up there.”

The 29-year-old slashed .266/.343/.509 with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs in his first season with the Yankees in 2018. In 15 plate appearances with New York before being placed on the injured list this year, he walked seven times and hit a pair of singles.

If all goes well with Stanton's rehab, he could be the second key member of the Yankees' outfield to return from injury, after New York got center fielder Aaron Hicks back last week.

Though his rehab process perhaps has been longer than he would have liked it to be, Stanton made a point to note how impressed he was with the way the injury-plagued Yankees have been competing while he was away.

“That's really fun to watch,” Stanton said of the Yankees, who entered Monday in first place in the American League East by half a game after taking two of three games from the Rays during a weekend series. “It's cool to see a lot of these guys stepping up and playing their hearts out. They've been playing well, and I want to get back with them.”

Dawn Klemish is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow her on Twitter @Sportsgal25.