Stanton back on Saturday at the earliest

Stanton back on Saturday at the earliest

Stanton back on Saturday at the earliest
ATLANTA -- There is a new target date for Giancarlo Stanton to return to the Marlins' starting lineup. Now Saturday appears to be the earliest the slugger could be back in action.

Still dealing with a sore left intercostal muscle, Stanton has missed nine straight games. The 22-year-old last saw game action on Sept. 16. He was hopeful to appear in Miami's final road series, which wrapped up at Atlanta on Thursday.

But he was pushed back to Friday, when the Marlins open a three-game set with the Phillies at Marlins Park. Manager Ozzie Guillen ruled that out, as well.

"Hopefully Saturday," the manager said Thursday. "He's going to swing the bat today. We'll see how he feels today. We will rest him tomorrow, and then [hopefully] Saturday."

Despite appearing in just 117 games, Stanton has hit 34 home runs, which ranks among the leaders in the National League.

"He has to tell me how he feels," Guillen said. "I'm not going to put a kid out there if he can't play in the game. I have to wait to see how long it takes."

Guillen did note that if Stanton isn't ready by Sunday, he doesn't see much reason for him to play the rest of the year.

Miami concludes its season with six games at Marlins Park. After the Phillies are in town from Friday through Sunday, the Marlins wrap up with three games against the Mets.

"If he doesn't play this weekend, he should shut it down," Guillen said. "Go home. Why is he going to play three games for? Maybe hit a home run to get 35."