There are those who think the Home Run Derby messes up a hitter’s swing. Giancarlo Stanton isn’t in that camp.
“Have you seen my swing the first half?” Stanton asked with sarcasm. “I think it’s going to line me back up.”
Stanton was selected to take part in Monday night’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park in San Diego. This will be his second appearance in the event. He reached the semifinal round in 2014 before being eliminated.
He has had to pull out of two other home run contests because of injuries.
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Stanton, who slumped for much of the season’s first half but has come on strong of late with four home runs in back-to-back games in New York, will square off head-to-head against Seattle’s Robinson Cano in the first round this year.
Stanton said the key to winning is not letting adrenaline take over.
“Don’t try to do too much,” he said of his strategy. “You’re trying to do a lot. But don’t let the bag drag, I’d say. You want to lift and hit one twice as far as the one before. But [you need to] stay right there.”
Petco Park is not known as a home run ballpark. But Stanton said, after playing most of his games at cavernous Marlins Park, it should be no big deal.
“People always complain about San Diego and the marine layer,” Stanton said. “We play in the biggest park, so I think it’ll be good. If we can hit it out here, it’ll be all right there.”
Stanton has invited Marlins assistant coach Pat Shine, who throws batting practice to him on a daily basis, to pitch to him in San Diego.
NICOLINO SENT DOWN
The Marlins optioned starting pitcher Justin Nicolino to Triple A New Orleans, in part because they had three games remaining before the All-Star break and don’t need so many starters on the roster.
But Nicolino’s demotion might not be temporary. The Marlins could decide to add a different pitcher to the rotation after the break.
“We don’t need that start until the last game against Philadelphia [July 19], so there’s no reason to make that move,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of bringing back Nicolino, or any other starter, right after the break. “We’re looking for the best alternative. We’re not committed to Nico getting the next start.”
With only three games left before the break, Mattingly said the Marlins felt the bullpen was rested and decided to bring up someone — catcher/first baseman Tomas Telis — as a pinch-hitter.
“He’s having a nice little year offensively in Triple A,” Mattingly said of Telis, who was hitting .311 at New Orleans.
The Marlins acquired Telis in a trade last summer with Texas for reliever Sam Dyson, who has saved 17 games to go with a 2.66 ERA for the Rangers this season.
▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (5-5, 3.65 ERA) vs. Cincinnati Reds LHP John Lamb (1-5, 5.43), 4:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (6-7, 4.40) vs. Reds LHP Cody Reed (0-3, 9.00), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.