It’s hard to tell exactly where Giancarlo Stanton is in his comeback from a second-degree hamstring injury these days.
One minute his manager is telling reporters the All-Star right fielder is backing off his rehab because of sore knees. The next, Stanton is seen running in the Marlins outfield during batting practice. Such was the case Thursday.
“Stanton came in a couple days ago with some sore knees. We’ve had to back him off,” manager Mike Redmond said before Thursday’s game when asked if he had any health updates among the team’s laundry list of injuries. “He just started lightly jogging and is now complaining about his knees being sore. So, that’s where we’re at with that. He’s still playing catch and hitting, but not being able to run.
“Disappointing?” Redmond said with a chuckle under his breath. “That’s an understatement.”
Less than an hour later, after stretching alongside his teammates before they took batting practice, Stanton was working with the Marlins training staff and running moderately fast in the outfield grass. Stanton said Wednesday he no longer feels pain in his hamstring, but added, “It’s more about letting it go.” It’s assumed he meant the fear of reinjuring his hamstring.
Redmond said Wednesday it’s really up to Stanton when he wants to start his minor-league rehab assignment, which sounds a lot like a manager saying that comes down to the pain tolerance of his player.
Turner to start
Jacob Turner will make his 2013 debut for the Marlins on Friday against the Mets.
Turner went 0-3 with a 9.69 ERA in 13 innings of work and four starts this spring, and struggled initially when he began the season in Triple A New Orleans, giving up 11 combined earned runs in his first three starts.
But since then, he’s gone at least six innings and given up three earned runs or less in his past seven starts for the Zephyrs. He’s now 3-4 with a 4.47 ERA. Turner, a 2009 first-round pick, went 1-4 with a 3.38 ERA in seven starts after being acquired in July and called up in late August.
Redmond said in a perfect situation he would like to move the red-hot Chris Coghlan out of the team’s leadoff spot and in a position where he could drive in runs. But since moving into the starting lineup 11 games ago, Coghlan has been getting on base more often than anyone on the team. He’s hitting .351 with three doubles, three triples, a home run and four RBI over the stretch.
“He’s not a prototypical leadoff hitter, but then again we don’t have a prototypical three- or four-hole hitter, either,” Redmond said. “So it’s just one of those spots where I feel like he’s giving us good at-bats. I’m trying to get guys on base for the middle of the order.”
Lessons in patience
Hitting coach Tino Martinez said it’s been a tough battle this season trying to get his younger hitters to take pitchers deeper into counts while still being aggressive and swinging at good pitches.
Wednesday, Rays sinkerballer Roberto Hernandez became the latest opposing starter to get deep into the game with a low pitch count, a problem the Marlins have had all season.
"There’s a lot of young hitters in here," Martinez said. "[Adeiny] Hechavarria, a lot of those young guys, they’re free swingers. They like to swing at the first one or two pitches. I don’t want to take that aggressiveness away from them yet I want them to be more patient at times when they have to be and not chase pitches out of the zone. They’re becoming tougher outs, which is what I want."
While the Marlins are the worst offensive team in baseball, they are fairly successful when they swing at the first pitch, hitting .286 as a team with five homers and 21 RBI.
• Friday: Marlins RHP Turner (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. New York Mets RHP Shaun Marcum (0-5, 5.77), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (2-3, 3.78) vs. Mets RHP Collin McHugh (0-0, 12.00), 4:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: The Mets are the only team the Marlins have taken a series from this season, winning two of three at Marlins Park at the end of April. Marcum is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in his career against the Marlins, including taking the loss in a 15-inning game on April 15.