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Stanton moves on from offseason distractions

Slugger won't linger on past, committed to improving on field

Stanton moves on from offseason distractions

JUPITER, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton is a force in the middle of the Marlins' lineup. What he isn't planning on becoming is a distraction.

On Friday, the Marlins' first day of full-squad workouts, Stanton addressed his feelings to the South Florida media publicly for the first time since the organization made sweeping changes.

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"You're not going to linger on something and cry about it all day," Stanton said. "You let it be known how you feel, and push forward."

A few months ago, Stanton expressed frustration -- via Twitter and an MLB.com story written by Peter Gammons -- after the Marlins made a blockbuster, 12-player trade with the Blue Jays.

Miami sent established veterans Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck to Toronto for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, catcher Jeff Mathis, shortstop Yunel Escobar and three prospects. Escobar has since being dealt to the Rays.

The big trade created a public backlash in Miami, and at the time, Stanton clearly wasn't happy.

With Spring Training in full swing, his state of mind is refreshed. Stanton has been working out for days leading up to Friday. He's healthy and focused.

"There's no reason to be mad," Stanton said. "I'm here healthy and ready to play and be a part of the team. The other nonsense, let it be what it is. We're here to be out on the field.

"People who know me, and not just assume things, they know how I am. There's not going to be any pouting or any of that stuff. We're good."

The players on the field may have changed from a year ago, but Stanton reminds disenchanted fans that the effort will remain the same.

"The team, in general, has never stopped playing hard," the 6-foot-5, 246-pounder said. "To win back those fans we may have lost, it's more of just showing how hard we're out there playing and fighting every night."

Stanton also makes it clear that he isn't seeking sympathy. He's already received plenty of it, with former teammates, friends and others regularly saying they feel sorry for him.

"I'm not one to [say], 'Hey, everyone, feel sorry for me.' What is there to feel sorry for me about?" Stanton said. "I'm in the big leagues. I play a game for a living."

What the 23-year-old can control is how he does on the field. He's one of the rising stars in the game and a centerpiece of a young Miami squad.

A year ago, Stanton delivered big numbers while playing in just 123 games. He batted .290, and added 37 homers and 86 RBIs. His .608 slugging percentage was the highest in the Majors.

"Right now, I just want him to focus on what he does," manager Mike Redmond said. "He already knows what a big part of our lineup and team he is."

Stanton missed a month last year due to right knee surgery, but he insists he's completely recovered.

"We're good. We're ready to go," Stanton said. "I've put all that knee surgery stuff and problems behind me and pushed forward."

Although he is one of the strongest players in the league, Stanton strives to be more than one-dimensional. He is looking to reduce his strikeouts (143) from a year ago, and take his share of walks.

"Strike zone discipline, that will be until my career is over," Stanton said. "I strive to get less and less strikeouts every year."

More walks, he says, will take his game to a different level.

Redmond is considering batting Stanton third instead of fourth in the order, where he batted mostly a year ago.

"If there was a choice, it would be third, to be up in the first inning," Stanton said. "But it doesn't completely matter."

Stanton's long-term future with the Marlins also remains in question. He was rumored in numerous trade possibilities in recent months, and the club has a policy where they'd listen to offers on any of their players.

The way the Marlins see it, there is no urgency to trade the slugger.

Stanton is a year away from reaching arbitration, and he won't have the necessary service time to be a free agent until the 2016 season. The Marlins have not approached him about a long-term contract, and the All-Star right fielder didn't speculate as to whether he would be willing to sign one.

"I haven't been offered one," Stanton said. "So that decision isn't ready yet. We know what has to go down. I'm here to win. My competitive level is not going to change at all."

The Marlins opted to get younger after they finished last in the National League East with a 69-93 record. Now, substantially younger, the team has little expectations.

"We're going to have to play it out and see how it goes," Stanton said. "We obviously know the rosters of everybody now. We have guys who are here, and guys we're not too sure about. It's more about how we bring them all together, and how we're going to come as one."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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