Miami Marlins

Marlins return to scene of Giancarlo Stanton’s scary injury, but much has changed

In this photo taken on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton falls back after he was hit by a pitch during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee.
In this photo taken on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton falls back after he was hit by a pitch during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee. AP

The puddle of blood is gone, shoveled out of the batter’s box shortly after Giancarlo Stanton was carted out of Miller Park with a shattered face.

But the gruesome memory of that night 11 months ago remains.

“It was about as gory as you could imagine,” said the Marlins’ Casey McGehee, who was standing in the on-deck circle when Stanton was hit in the face by a Mike Fiers pitch on Sept. 11 of last season.

Said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who was behind the plate when Stanton dropped and the first to reach the stricken slugger: “You don’t see blood like that. I’m not one of those guys that gets queasy or sick, or anything. That stuff doesn’t bother me. But I was really scared for him.”

As the Marlins prepared to face the Brewers for the first time since that frightening moment, those players who were involved in the chaotic scene say it is something they will never forget.

“I have not seen anything like that as far as bleeding, and that much blood being on the field,” said Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis, who was on third base when a fastball thrown by Fiers caught Stanton flush in the face.

Said Marlins manager Dan Jennings: “It’s one of those memories that, if you were here, you’ll always have etched in your mind. Really a grotesque thing to see. A bad memory.”

Much has changed since then.

After the injury caused Stanton to miss the rest of the 2014 season, he returned this season showing no signs of being timid at the plate. He was leading the league in home runs before landing on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand.

As a result, he is not with the Marlins in Milwaukee.

Nor is Fiers. He was traded to Houston on July 30.

Both managers at the time, the Marlins’ Mike Redmond and Milwaukee’s Ron Roenicke, were each fired in May.

“A lot has changed,” said McGehee, who didn’t anticipate any lingering animosity between the teams as they set to face off Monday for a three-game series. “There’s a lot of guys who are in here who weren’t here for it. There’s a lot of guys over there who weren’t there. Neither one of the managers are still here. Neither one of the players who were involved are still here.”

Although Stanton returned much the same player he was before, the same couldn’t be said for Fiers. Lucroy said the pitcher was deeply effected afterward. Right after hitting Stanton in the face, Fiers hit Reed Johnson — pinch-hitting for Stanton —in the hands with a pitch that was also thrown toward the head.

That led to a benches-clearing scene and the ejections of McGehee and Redmond. One inning later, in clear retaliation, the Marlins’ Anthony DeSclafani hit Carlos Gomez with a pitch and was also ejected.

“It still effects him today,” Lucroy said of Fiers. “[Earlier] this year, we were having trouble throwing pitches up in the zone to people because he was afraid he was going to hit them. We kind of stayed away from up and in a lot because he was afraid to go up.”

Lucroy said he could understand why the Marlins were angry.

“That’s understandable,” Lucroy said. “At this level, you should be controlling where you’re throwing the ball. It was a very emotional moment. One of your best players, an MVP candidate, gets hit in the face like that. They were just acting out of concern for their player. It was just a big mess.”

Said McGehee: “I don’t think anyone in here thought it was intentional. At the same time, you see one of your guys get hurt, that’s upsetting.”

PHELPS GOES ON DL

As expected, the Marlins placed pitcher David Phelps on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a right forearm strain and called up reliever Erik Cordier from Triple A New Orleans.

Cordier, whose fastball is clocked consistently in the triple digits, was granted his release from the Giants on Aug. 1 and signed with the Marlins.

▪ Stanton is now hitting off the machine in live batting practice for the first time as he continues to work his way back from hand surgery.

▪ Reliever Carter Capps (right elbow strain) is throwing long toss.

▪ Phelps and outfielder Christian Yelich (bruised right knee) had MRIs on Monday. The Marlins are awaiting the results.

▪ Starting pitcher Jarred Cosart (vertigo) pitched in a simulation game Monday.

▪ Starting pitcher Jose Fernandez (right biceps strain) played catch from 60 feet Monday.

COMING UP

▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (1-0, 5.00) at Milwaukee Brewers RHP Tyler Cravy (0-4, 5.92), 8:10 p.m., Miller Park.

▪ Wednesday: Marlins (to be announced) at Milwaukee Brewers RHP Wily Peralta (3-7, 4.07), 2:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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