There are little signs inside the Marlins’ clubhouse that Giancarlo Stanton is still with them, if only in spirit.
His outfielder’s gloves and arm sleeves rest in their normal spots inside his locker.
His name continues to be listed on the bulletin board lineup card in the section reserved for substitutes.
But Stanton himself is no longer around, and he won’t be joining the Marlins on the field again this season.
The team officially announced Wednesday what most everyone has been assuming since he was struck in the face by a pitch in Milwaukee last week, that the injured slugger’s season is over.
“There’s just not enough time for him to come back,” manager Mike Redmond said. “The doctors felt like he needed more time to heal, and it wasn’t worth rushing him back.”
Stanton sustained multiple facial fractures. Teeth were broken.
Still, despite the severity of the injuries, Stanton had been telling friends and teammates he intended to play again in 2014.
After visiting with doctors in Miami on Tuesday, though, it was decided a comeback wouldn’t be such a good idea. His face remains swollen and work needs to be done to help with the healing.
“I think the fractures are the ones we have to monitor the most,” said Mike Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. “He’ll definitely be ready to go for spring training.”
Hill said he spoke Wednesday with Stanton, who told him he is improving every day.
“He told me he can open his mouth 60 percent now,” Hill said. “So the [food] slices that he has to cut, they’re in halves now. They were in quarters a few days ago.”
Though a return to the major-league team has been ruled out, Hill said it’s possible Stanton could get back on the field with the Marlins’ instructional-league team in Jupiter.
That season continues through the first week of October.
“We might get him in the instructional league or something, see some pitches and swing the bat a little bit before he heads back to California, just to get him back out there,” Hill said.
Hill said Rawlings is already working on three helmet prototypes designed to provide extra protection for Stanton should he decide to use one. One is similar to the helmet now worn by the Braves’ Jason Heyward, whose jaw was broken by a pitch last season.
Hill also said the injury will have no impact on the long-term contract discussions the team intends to have with Stanton after the season.
The Marlins are expected to offer Stanton a contract extension that would keep him in Miami after 2016, when he first becomes eligible for free agency.
“We’re hopeful that the season will end, he’ll be named MVP of the league, and we’ll get back into our offseason preparation and hopefully our long-term discussions with him,” Hill said.
▪ Lost in Tuesday’s 9-1 drubbing by the Mets was Marlins rookie Andrew Heaney’s return to the mound. Heaney entered in relief and looked sharp, going 11/3 innings.
It was his first work in a game since the end of the Triple A season Sept.1. Heaney, widely regarded as one of the top left-handed prospects, struggled when he was called up earlier in the season, going 0-3 with a 6.53 ERA in four starts.
“I know I’ve got to do better than that,” said Heaney, who is expected to receive strong consideration for a rotation spot next season.
It’s possible Heaney could even be thrust into the rotation with what little time remains in this season if the Marlins decide to shelve Nathan Eovaldi, whose second-half struggles continued in Tuesday’s loss.
“We talked a little bit about it [Wednesday], and we’ll make that decision in the next couple of days,” Redmond said.
▪ Thursday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (3-7, 4.36 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-10, 3.79), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (9-9, 3.71) vs. Nationals RHP Doug Fister (14-6, 2.55), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
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