Slumping Stanton swinging at bad pitches

Slumping Stanton swinging at bad pitches

Slumping Stanton swinging at bad pitches
MIAMI -- Pitch recognition seems to be what's bothering Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton right now.

Batting .234 with no home runs and five RBIs, Stanton was out of the lineup on Saturday night against the D-backs.

In Spring Training, Stanton missed substantial time due to a sore left knee. The previous injury, manager Ozzie Guillen says, is not the problem.

"He's fine," the manager said. "You know what the problem he has is? He's not swinging at strikes. Watching from the dugout, he's chasing bad pitches, up and down.

"Not too many players are that good to make contact on a ball up at your chest and a ball down below your knees. To me, the last couple of weeks, he's chasing bad pitches, and that's why he's getting in trouble."

One of the strongest players in the game, the 22-year-old Stanton had dealt with high expectations since he broke into the big leagues in 2010. The right fielder belted 34 homers a year ago, and before the season, there was talk that he might hit 40 or more.

Guillen says people need to ease on the expectations and let Stanton develop into a quality player.

"I don't know the kid," the manager said. "I didn't have the chance to see him much in Spring Training. He seems like he's a streaky hitter. But he's only 22 years old. We have to be patient with him.

"The expectations on him ... let's step off a little bit and let him play and see the results. Before the season started, this kid was going to hit 60 home runs and drive in 130. When you're 21, 22 years old, not many kids can handle that. I'm not saying he can't. I told him, 'Just play your game, man.'"

Once Stanton shows more plate discipline, the numbers should be there.

"Right now, he's trying to figure it out like everybody else," Guillen said. "It's easy when you're a veteran, but when you're a kid, you don't know how. Right now, we're trying to get him back on track."