Miami Marlins All-Star Giancarlo Stanton homered for the first time this spring in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
Stanton had been putting better swings on the ball as of late, and launched a pitch easily out of Roger Dean Stadium in the seventh inning. It was a welcome sight for manager Don Mattingly and the rest of the team. Stanton missed a good deal of last season after fracturing his hand, and had some difficulty regaining strength at first.
Miami was mostly quiet outside of the home run from Stanton with only six total hits. The other five knocks went for singles with one coming from Ichiro Suzuki, and another from Adeiny Hechavarria. As has been the case as of late, the Marlins gave several regulars three at-bats. With the season approaching, a designated hitter was also not utilized.
Miami's other three hits came from a trio of guys who are not likely to make the Opening Day roster. Austin Nola, Cole Gillespie and Adrian Nieto had the other singles. Gillespie spent a good amount of time with the Marlins in 2015, but may lose out in a numbers game for a roster spot in April.
Tom Koehler started for Miami and pitched well for five innings. Koehler is expected to open the year as the #3 starter for the Marlins and allowed a run on five hits in this one. The right-hander walked a pair and struck out three along the way. Koehler is looking to build on a season that saw him go 11-14 with a 4.08 E.R.A.
Jose Urena who began the spring with an eye on the rotation, came out of the bullpen first. Urena only went an inning which has been the case for him as of late. The short usage could be a sign that Urena is out of the running for a rotation spot, and likely headed for a start to the year in AAA New Orleans.
The Grapefruit League schedule will roll on for the Marlins when they host the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at 1:05 p.m.