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Stanton set to return Thursday in Cincinnati

Stanton set to return Thursday in Cincinnati

MIAMI -- Miami's struggling offense is about to get a significant power boost.

All-Star Giancarlo Stanton is set to return to the lineup on Thursday when the Marlins open a four-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

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"Stanton hit today, and he said things felt good," manager Mike Redmond said. "He should be good to go for tomorrow. That's a good sign, obviously. We all know how important he is to this lineup. That's good news. He felt better today."

Counting Wednesday's series finale with the Nationals at Marlins Park, Stanton will have missed six straight games.

The 23-year-old slugger jarred his shoulder while making a diving catch on April 5 at the Mets. He remained playing through discomfort, before the shoulder pinched on April 12.

In nine games, Stanton is batting .167 with no home runs or RBIs. Still, he is one of the most feared hitters in the game, and he is the focal point of Miami's lineup.

"Obviously, he's such a big part of our lineup," Redmond said. "At the same time, too, these games don't stop. We've got to keep playing, keep grinding, and guys have to fill that spot until he gets back.

"We've battled. Guys have had scrappy at-bats, but it will be good to get him back in that lineup to get some consistency. I don't want to have all these different lineups. I'd love to be able to write it down, that this is our right-handed lineup, and this is our left-handed lineup, and let's go get 'em. We haven't had that. Tomorrow, we hope that is the start of having a more stable lineup."

Placido Polanco has been hitting third in Stanton's absence.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less