Nobody expected Giancarlo Stanton to make a late-season return after his face was disfigured by a fastball last September. But when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand on June 26, it was fully expected that he would return to action in four to six weeks.
Three months later, he and the Marlins have finally abandoned hope.
Manager Dan Jennings said Tuesday that Stanton would not attempt to play between now and the end of the season on Sunday.
“In fairness to Giancarlo, he gave his best effort trying to get back,” Jennings said. “He wanted to be out playing. He just didn’t have a comfort level in that hand. He tried, but it didn’t let go.”
Stanton said recently that a hand specialist discovered “abnormal scar tissue” in his surgically repaired hand, which was a strong indication he wasn’t going to make it back.
But Stanton and the Marlins held out hope the hand would be sufficiently strong enough to give it a shot. It didn't happen.
Stanton, who signed a 13-year contract worth $325 million last winter, was leading the league with 27 homers when he broke his hand in June and still ranks in the top 10 despite missing three months.
“He was on his way to be considered in the MVP race,” Jennings said. “But he’ll be back ready [in 2016].”
Win streak ends
The Marlins have been historically good in interleague play.
Not this season.
By dropping a 4-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, the Marlins fell to 7-11 in games against American League opponents this season.
All seven of their wins have come at Marlins Park. They’re 0-8 on the road.
Then again, they haven’t played well on the road anywhere this season. Tuesday’s loss at Tropicana Field dropped their road record to 28-48.
“It’s been a nemesis all year,” Jennings said of the Marlins’ road woes. “For whatever reason, our record on the road has not been well.”
On Tuesday, Asdrubel Cabrera’s two-run homer off Marlins pitcher Bryan Morris in the eighth snapped a 2-2 tie and brought the Marlins’ five-game winning streak to an end.
The Marlins jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on back-to-back doubles by Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich.
But Mikie Mahtook homered off rookie Adam Conley in the third and the Rays took a 2-1 lead in the fourth after Conley walked the first two batters before giving up a sacrifice fly to Kevin Kiermaier.
The trade with the Dodgers in which the Marlins landed Gordon also netted a slick-fielding backup infielder — Miguel Rojas — who is filling in nicely for injured shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
Rojas hasn’t made an error since taking over for Hechavarria on Sept. 2.
As an added bonus for the Marlins — he’s also contributed with the bat, hitting .273 on the season and .304 in September.
The positive results have convinced Rojas that perhaps he can be labeled as something other than a utility infielder.
“I’m still the backup guy,” Rojas acknowledged. “And I understand my role right now. The thing is, this opportunity for me in September is huge because I can show this organization I can play everyday. I think in the future, I can be an everyday player somewhere.”
Rojas hit .301 for Triple A New Orleans, where he spent most of the season.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Jarred Cosart (2-4, 4.15) at Tampa Bay Rays LHP Drew Smyly (4-2, 3.26), 7:10 p.m., Tropicana Field.
▪ Thursday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (6-0, 2.91) at Tampa Bay Rays RHP Jake Ordorizzi (8-9, 3.49), 7:10 p.m., Tropicana Field.