Giancarlo Stanton — former Marlin, current New York Yankee — didn’t have to report to Tampa’s Steinbrenner Field until Sunday.
But there he was Friday, two days early, to get adjusted to his new team and new expectations.
Over the next month, starting with practice Monday, Stanton will begin the next journey of his baseball career, his first playing for a team not named the Miami Marlins.
But on Friday, Stanton had a few goals in mind: Connecting with his teammates, picking their brains for information, passing along ideas for improvement.
“And getting into this winning culture,” Stanton said.
Yes, the winning culture — one factor Stanton did not experience during his eight Major League seasons with the Marlins from 2010-2017. During that span, the Marlins never won more than 80 games in a given season.
And with another rebuild on the horizon under new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, Stanton requested a trade. He got his wish on Dec. 11, when the Marlins traded the reigning National League Most Valuable Player and league home run leader to the New York Yankees for Starlin Castro and prospects.
Now, Stanton will join forces with Aaron Judge to form a power-heavy one-two punch in the heart of the Yankees’ lineup.
“I’m excited to learn, for us to bounce ideas off each other. We’re very similar. People are going to pitch us the same. They’re going to bring the same approach. We’re going to bring our own plan — and a better one.”
On Monday, a little more than two months since that trade, Stanton will wear the pinstripes to the practice field for the first time. The start of a new era will begin.
“It’s different,” Stanton said, “but odd? Definitely not. It’s gonna be fun for sure.”