The news of Giancarlo Stanton returning to the Miami Marlins’ lineup as soon as Friday couldn’t come at a better time. With only 16 games remaining in the MLB season and Miami still clinging to an outside shot at a wild card berth, this is a team that needs all the offensive firepower it can get. The Marlins, 73-73 this season, are welcoming back veterans who have been on the disabled list this past week with the hope it can help salvage the season and a trip to the postseason.
Stanton has been used as a pinch hitter while he is still recovering from a sever groin injury. He was added to the roster on Sept. 6.
Per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Manager Don Mattingly said after Miami's 7-5 win over the Braves at Turner Field on Wednesday that Stanton could be ready to return to the starting lineup as early as this weekend in Philadelphia.
Miami is off on Thursday before opening a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park on Friday.
"We're close to getting Giancarlo back," Mattingly said. "We're hoping he can play Friday. We were missing that for about 45 days and that hurt us."
Who knows where this team would be had Stanton not gotten injured or first baseman Justin Bour hadn’t been hobbled by a high ankle sprain?
The injury occurred Aug 13 and it was expected Stanton would be out of action the remainder of the season – something that also happened last year. As he continued to rehab and progress, the team became optimistic he would be able to help them the last few weeks of the season. That prognosis evidently has come to fruition.
Now four games back of the Mets for the second Wild Card, the Marlins are starting to get several core position players back. Justin Bour and Marcell Ozuna are at full strength, and the offense is picking up.
Adding Stanton to the middle of the order could help the club's final push. Stanton has 25 home runs and 71 RBIs.
"Since we've been able to get J.B. back and Marcell back healthy again, it's like the two-headed or three-headed monster becomes a lot more dangerous," Manager Don Mattingly said. "Then you have five guys in there and you have some add-on guys and it takes the pressure off."