The next time Giancarlo Stanton steps into the batters box for the Miami Marlins, he will have a protective guard on his helmet.
The guard will likely be similar to one worn by Jason Heyward last season in Atlanta. In Heyward's model, an extra protective piece was added at the bottom to cover him from potential injury.
On September 11th, 2014, Stanton's season came to an end when he was hit in the face with a fastball. The ball caused fractures in Stanton's face and left a bloody scene at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Stanton was taken off the field on a cart after a lengthy delay and it was unknown if the injuries could have possibly caused permanent damage at the time.
When Stanton's season ended, he was considered a leading contender for the Most Valuable Player award. His team was also still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Miami went into a free fall without Stanton and he did not come away with the MVP honors. The slugger was a finalist for the prestigious award that ended up going to Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Earlier this off-season, Stanton signed a 13-year contract extension with the Marlins that was worth $325 million. It was a risky move by the team as Stanton has yet to step into the box since the scary incident. While there is not expecting to be any physical issues stemming from the injury, it is unknown if there will be any mental hold-ups.
Pitchers and catchers will head to spring training on February 20th while Stanton and the rest of the position players will report to Jupiter on the 24th.