Even with Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins weren’t winning.
Now they’ll have to make do without their star slugger, casting an even grimmer shadow over a season that was already turning bleak as losses continued to mount.
X-rays revealed the news the Marlins were fearing: a broken hamate in Stanton’s left wrist that will likely require surgery and cause him to miss the next four to six weeks.
The injury will cause Stanton to miss the All-Star Game in two weeks, as well as the Home Run Derby, a test of power in which he was likely to participate.
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“Certainly not great news when you lose a guy that means what he’s meant to this ball club, and to baseball,” said Marlins manager Dan Jennings.
Stanton, who leads the majors in homers and runs batted in, injured his hand while in the process of striking out in Friday’s sixth inning. He remained in the game, striking out one more time in the ninth.
Afterward, he revealed that gripping the bat was causing him pain.
Jennings said Stanton was to meet Saturday with a hand specialist to determine the exact nature of the injury and the timetable on when the Marlins can expect him back in the lineup.
But he said he’ll likely undergo surgery to repair the fracture.
“From what I’ve been told it’s better to have the surgical procedure, healing-wise,” Jennings said. “But I think we’ll have a better understanding after he visits the hand specialist.”
But not having Stanton for any length of time is a significant blow to a struggling team that was already reeling from a five-game losing streak and sat 15 games under .500 entering Saturday.
“Even before ‘G’ got hurt, we knew we had to pick it up,” infielder Jeff Baker.
Said third baseman Martin Prado, who is on the disabled list with a shoulder injury: “It’s tough. The big guy getting hurt, too, it’s just painful.”
While the Marlins have struggled in June, going 10-14, Stanton has been on a tear. His 12 homers tied a team record for a single month, and his 27 home runs on the season was just one shy of the Marlins mark for most hit before the All-Star break.
Of the six longest home runs hit this season in the majors, four belong to Stanton. Clearly, lacking a player of Stanton’s presence will place a severe handicap on a lineup that was already struggling to score runs, even with him in it.
“It’s going to change how we play the game, because you can’t sit back and wait on the big man to hit the 2- and 3-run home run,” Jennings said. “It would be easy to toss in the towel right now. So now it’s upon us to pick it up.”
Said outfielder Christian Yelich: “It stinks. He’s been one of the best players in baseball this year, and he’s been on fire lately, too.”
It’s not the first time Stanton has dealt with injuries, the most prominent of which was the one he suffered at the end of last season when he was hit in the face with a pitch.
Jennings said when he spoke with Stanton following Friday’s game, the slugger had an inkling that something was seriously wrong.
“He knew,” Jennings said. “These guys know their bodies better than anyone, and he knew something was not right.”
With Stanton now out of the picture, the Marlins will likely give most of his playing time to Ichiro Suzuki, who was in Saturday’s lineup.
In placing Stanton on the 15-day disabled list, the Marlins announced a couple of other roster moves, calling up outfielder Cole Gillespie and infielder Miguel Rojas from Triple A New Orleans and optioning backup infielder Donovan Solano to New Orleans.
Rojas, whom the Marlins acquired with Dee Gordon and Dan Haren in their offseason trade with the Dodgers, started Saturday and played third.