After testing his right knee for about 40 minutes in 105-degree heat Friday afternoon at Busch Stadium, Giancarlo Stanton said he feels good enough that he expects to be back in the Marlins lineup Saturday and plans on participating in both the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game next week.
The 22-year-old slugger, who hasn’t played since he felt his knee lock up during Monday’s game at Milwaukee, said he will eventually need surgery to remove the “loose bodies’’ in his knee. But for now, he is looking to manage his knee with treatment.
As long as the Marlins remain in the playoff hunt, and he doesn’t think he will create any further damage, Stanton said, he will hold off on a procedure until after the season.
“I’ve had knee problems before, so I’m not new to the fact of managing it,” Stanton said. “It’s just new to this feeling. I know my body well. So, it’s just a matter of what’s it going to do, and tell me.”
In his pregame workout Friday under the supervision of team trainers and assistant Gary Thurman Stanton ran along the outfield wall and then played catch. He then tracked down fly balls and grounders hit to him, before firing them back in to pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who served as his catcher. Later, Stanton ran the bases.
The feeling in his knee, he said, is “weird.” But as long as it is just weird and not restricting, Stanton said, he will continue to play.
“The muscles around it, my knee are not used to something bouncing around in there,” he said.
“... What we don’t want to happen is for it to get stuck in some place it shouldn’t, and make ligament damage. [But] the risk of that isn’t very high.” It would lock up and tell me to stop before that. So, go from there.”
Stanton, who leads the team with 19 homers and 50 RBI, said he has to monitor the way he plays closely. “I’ve got to read my body,” he said. “If I’m changing the way I run or hit or anything, then that is going to lead to other problems and change the way I play on the field.”
If the knee required surgery before the season ends, Stanton said, he was told it could mean him missing two to eight weeks.
“It’s a big gap, but it all depends to the reaction to it,” he said. “It just depends. I didn’t have a lot of swelling or bruising. So that means it would be however my knee reacts to being cut open.”
Asked about getting back in the Marlins lineup for a day game Saturday with temperatures expected to be around 106, Stanton laughed.
“After what I did out there,” he said. “That’s a piece of cake.”
The Marlins matched a couple of team records for playing in the heat Friday night when the game-time temperature reading inside Busch Stadium read 103 degrees.
This is also just the second time the Marlins have played three consecutive games in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, according to radio play-by-play man Glenn Geffner. That record should go up in flames Saturday, along with the prior. Saturday’s game is scheduled for a 4:10 p.m. first pitch. The forecast calls for temperatures around 107.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, though, doesn’t want to hear any complaints about the heat.
“I’ve got four people working my house, making $5 an hour and still working,” Guillen said. “I think we make a little bit more than them, and people pay to watch us play.”
Coming up• Saturday: Marlins RHP RHP Carlos Zambrano (4-6, 4.14 ERA) at St. Louis Cardinals RHP Kyle Lohse (8-2, 2.80), 4:10 p.m., Busch Stadium.
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (4-6, 4.19) at Cardinals RHP Joe Kelly (1-1, 3.29), 2:10 p.m., Busch Stadium.
• Scouting report: The Marlins are 0-5 in Zambrano’s past five starts, including a 5-2 loss to the Cardinals on June 26 at Marlins Park when Zambrano gave up five runs in the first inning. During that stretch, Zambrano has gone 0-3 with an 8.59 ERA, 22 walks and 15 strikeouts.