After battling injuries for the better part of two years, Giancarlo Stanton feels he is on pace to be in the Yankees’ lineup on Opening Day. Stanton suffered a calf injury back during Spring Training that would have landed him on the injured list had the season opened as scheduled, though “the progress back has been good,” Stanton told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch and other reporters.
“I’m good again and getting everything I need to be ready….I’ve been [taking fly balls] in batting practice. It’s better to be in a controlled setting right now, especially while pitchers are trying to get their work in.”
That batting practice work has been Stanton’s only action on the grass during Summer Camp, as he hasn’t played in the field during intrasquad games. The Yankees intend to use Stanton only as a DH when the season begins, and then potentially get him back to outfield work depending on his health.
Biceps and knee injuries limited Stanton to just 18 games and 72 plate appearances in 2019, plus 18 more PA over five of New York’s postseason games. While Stanton had been rather notoriously injury-plagued earlier in his career, it seemed like had turned a corner after playing in 317 of a possible 324 games for the Marlins and Yankees in 2017-18. The peak, of course, was Stanton’s 59-homer performance that won him the 2017 NL MVP Award, though his first full season in the Bronx was also very productive, as Stanton slugged 38 homers and slashed .266/.343/.509 over a career-high 705 PA in 2018. Even last year, Stanton was dangerous when he was in the lineup, posting an .894 OPS over his 72 PA.