Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton shows signs of life after rough start

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By journalsofus.com

New York – It was so close that the umpire wanted to take another look. New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, the crusher of home runs that never lands, tore a line drive so fast, and so low, that it looked like fans sitting in the front row behind the right-field wall might interfere. Were. The outreach glove of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder George Springer. So, as Stanton circled the bases, and as music played and lights flickered in celebration, everyone waited. And waited.

Finally, replays on the big screen in center field showed that Springer missed the screaming liner, and as a cheer went up in Yankee Stadium, the umpires confirmed it was a home run. Stanton could exhale.

Stanton’s solo shot and two other singles in the first inning led the Yankees to a 9–8 victory on a cool Saturday night.

He gave Stanton some relief, perhaps the Yankees’ biggest miss in their dazzling 7–2 start to the season.

“Obviously,” manager Aaron Boone said, “he hasn’t had a lot of results before tonight, but he’s been in good shape. There have been some swing-and-misses, but there has been some really competitive batting, and sometimes you have to roll with the G a little bit. It was good to see him get a lot of good swings tonight.”

“Just take it tomorrow,” Stanton said. “Understand the feeling. Understand how to live at my feet.”

Stanton had a rough start to the season, striking out 13 of his first 25 plate appearances with a .125 average and one home run.

He was coming off a difficult 2023 in which he recorded career lows in batting average (.191) and OPS (.695). In the offseason, general manager Brian Cashman almost predicted that Stanton would suffer an injury sometime in 2024 due to his long injury history. And Cashman did it because Stanton was working to lose weight — specifically in his once-muscular thighs — so he could stay on the field and earn the four years and $98 million he still owes the Yankees. Are due. (The Miami Marlins will pay Stanton the remaining $30 million on his deal.)

Before the game, hitting coach James Rawson said that although Stanton was not getting results, he believed the work he was doing off the field was solid. Rawson pointed to Stanton’s timing, or the apparent lack thereof, and argued that it was still early in the season and perhaps Stanton needed time to find a groove. The hitting coach said Stanton was probably getting away from his game plan a little bit.

“Sometimes (pitchers) don’t work into your plan,” Rawson said. “They may not make pitches that fit your plan. Maybe they get behind in the count because a guy made some good pitches. Then every once in a while, you get that pitch and you can mess with it.

“At the beginning of the year, you’d rather hit a good player than kick him out of the yard. Some of those things are happening. Because it’s early in the year, I think the more at-bats he has, the more he’ll realize to get in that box and get on with the season, he won’t miss the pitches he should be hitting. Pitchers are going to make more scheme errors, and that’s going to destroy them.

However, a longtime opposing scout called Stanton’s batting stance “weird” and said his swing was essentially the same as last year, although Stanton had talked about making changes to it in the spring.

“It’s like he doesn’t use his lower half,” said the scout, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “And he’s so far away from the plate, it looks like he’s just starting out and his vision is already unbalanced.”

Stanton looked on target Saturday. When he homered, he got a tattoo of starting pitcher Kevin Gausman’s 91.3 mph fastball that was chest-high and slightly out with a 100 mph exit velocity. The blast increased the Yankees’ lead to 3–0, and it occurred after Aaron Judge drove in Juan Soto with a two-run shot.

In the third inning, ahead on a 3–1 count, Stanton ripped Mitch White’s slider to right through the hole in right field for a hit. And in the fifth, White got Stanton into trouble on a 1-2 count. He aimed high and far with a 94 mph fastball and looked to hit his spot, but Stanton turned it in for a line-drive single past shortstop. Stanton threw the ball at a speed of 116.7 mph. It was his 500th hit since joining the Yankees in 2018.

“We all need a night like this sometimes,” Boone said. “He’s so mentally strong and disciplined about what he’s trying to do that I don’t worry about things falling on him. He just has to get comfortable and settle into the box and, again, I feel like he’s been in a fight this whole time.

The Yankees need more than what Stanton showed them on Saturday. With Soto as the starting right fielder, and Trent Grisham, an excellent defender, as the fourth outfielder, there is almost nowhere for Stanton to produce outside of the designated hitter. He’ll have to make every single one of his at-bats count, otherwise the boost Stanton has become familiar with during his years in the Bronx will return, and the question will be whether the club can better utilize his position. In the lineup.

(Photo: John Munson/Associated Press)

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