The Miami Marlins welcomed back Giancarlo Stanton before falling 11-0 to the New York Mets on Sunday.
Stanton had been out of action recently due to a sore knee. With only three at-bats in the spring, Stanton still needs plenty of work to get into game shape. It was encouraging for Miami to see Stanton play the field and get to balls with ease in this one. Stanton also ran a little on the bases and showed no ill-effects of the knee injury.
As long as Stanton can avoid additional injury time, he should be fully prepared for action on Opening Day. The right-fielder missed significant time in 2015 and his presence in the everyday lineup will be crucial to Miami's success. Stanton not only produces on his own, but he improves those around him in the lineup as well.
Stanton ended up going 0-1 with a walk in the loss. There was also a hit-and-run play where Stanton was caught attempting to steal second. Manager Don Mattingly alluded to the fact a sign was missed on that play however during a television broadcast of the game. Coming off a knee injury, Miami would like to play it safer with their star outfielder.
It was a quiet day overall for Miami's lineup which only tallied three hits. Adeiny Hechavarria picked up a single and is now hitting .438 this spring. Miami's shortstop had a solid year offensively in 2015 and is trying to carry that over into this season.
On the mound, the day was just as tough for Miami. Tom Koehler started the game and allowed four runs on five hits in 3.2 innings of work. Koehler is expected to be Miami's third starter and has a 5.40 E.R.A in the spring.
Brad Hand did very little to help his chances of making Miami's roster in this one. Hand allowed six hits, walked two and gave up six runs in two innings of work. The veteran is out of options and would have to be exposed to all other teams if he does not make the roster. Miami could opt to go that route however, if other pitchers in the spring outperform Hand.
The Marlins will enjoy their first off-day of the Grapefruit League on Monday, before resuming the exhibition schedule on Tuesday against the Mets.