Stanton disappointed to miss All-Star activities, but recovery on track

Craig Davis
Contact ReporterSouth Florida Sun-Sentinel
Giancarlo Stanton gratified to be voted All-Star starter; injury recovery on track

Any conversation with Giancarlo Stanton during the final series before the midseason break should have been about his participation in the upcoming All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.

Instead it was about stitches and pain and the disappointment of having to miss the spotlight of the Midsummer Classic for the second time due to injury.

Despite being voted as a starter for the National League by the fans for the first time, the Marlins' slugging right fielder is focused on recovery from surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his left hand rather than next week's festivities in Cincinnati.

"It sucks. It sucks. It's great that I got voted in, and want to be a part of that, but not to be able to participate sucks," Stanton said Thursday in addressing the media for the first time since having surgery on June 28.

He was injured while swinging the bat during a game two days earlier against the Dodgers at Marlins Park.

At the time of the injury Stanton was on one the best power streaks of his career, tying a Marlins record for most home runs in a month with 12 in June. He batted .344 with 23 RBI in 24 games to earn the second NL Player of the Month award of his career.

Stanton had been looking forward to his father joining him at the All-Star Game, but said he was uncertain if he will attend.

"I have not decided yet. It depends on a few things. I want to get this completely right," said Stanton, who expects to have the stitches removed in the next few days.

Nonetheless, Stanton was upbeat and said his recovery is progressing on track of the prognosis of four to six weeks. The swelling has almost completely receded but full range of motion has not returned. There is some lingering pain.

He is uncertain when he will be ready to resume baseball activities.

"Still got to be able to make a fist first," Stanton said, adding that he is still limited to squeezing a sponge.

It isn't a matter of waiting for a bone to heal, as the hamate was removed during surgery, he explained: "Basically [it's] to let the cut heal. The tendons and everything have to … get used to their new flow, I guess. The main thing is to not reopen this cut when I start to grip the bat."

Stanton was fortunate there was no damage to ligaments or tendons, particularly considering he took a few more swings after breaking the bone. He said he believes the injury occurred on a swing during the sixth inning of the June 26 game. He batted again in the ninth and was in obvious pain while striking out.

"It was a smooth procedure," he said of the surgery. "[Doctor] said I had a lot of blood in there. Usually when you break something you don't keep going after it, so that's what I did, a few extra swings. So there's a lot of extra blood that wouldn't normally be there, but it was smooth besides that."

In a successful return a serious beaning last September, Stanton was putting together one of the most impressive seasons any power hitter has produced in the post-steroid era. He was hitting .265 with a league-high 27 home runs and 67 RBI in 74 games.

He had hit eight homers farther than 450 feet, including four of the six longest in the major leagues this season.

But once again Stanton will be deprived of showing what he can achieve in a full healthy season.

In 2012 he made the All-Star team for the first time and was to participate in the Home Run Derby but had to miss it to undergo knee surgery. He did participate in the game as a reserve and the derby last season at Minnesota.

As for what he may be able to salvage from this season, Stanton said, "It's just a matter of getting there and trying to help the team. I'm not worried about what I can do to add on to what I've done. … I'm not going to get the complete season, so you don't look at trying to get your complete numbers."

Casey redux?

The Marlins reportedly will sign Casey McGehee after he clears waivers Friday following his release by the Giants. Marlins manager Dan Jennings said before Thursday's game that he hadn't been informed of a pending deal, and it is uncertain how the veteran third baseman would fit when Martin Prado returns from a sprained shoulder.

McGehee, 32, was a popular presence in the clubhouse when hit .287 with 76 RBI for the Marlins in 2014, but was struggling with a .213 average and two homers in 49 games this season for San Francisco.

Prado patient

Prado played two rehab games for Class A Jupiter as a designated hitter but said he is not yet able to make a strong throw from third base. He remains hopeful of returning soon after the break.

"[Friday] I'm going to throw again across the diamond. It depends how it feels back-to-back days," he said.

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