MIAMI -- It's not a coincidence that the Marlins' offense is starting to heat up now that Giancarlo Stanton is back in the lineup.
After missing about six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Stanton has been a major presence in the three-spot. In his first five games back, Stanton was 8-for-20 (.400) with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBIs.
Prior to his injury, Stanton struggled over 20 games in April. The 23-year-old slugger batted .227 with three home runs, three doubles and nine RBIs in that stretch.
"He looks confident," manager Mike Redmond said. "He definitely looks different than he did in April, and I think that's confidence. He feels good. He's taken some good swings. He's seen some results. Like any player, that breeds a lot of confidence, and in turn, guys play better."
Stanton blistered a two-run homer to right-center on Saturday against St. Louis' Lance Lynn.
The fact he is driving the ball to the opposite field, Stanton says, means he's seeing pitches deeper into the zone. Early on, he was ahead of the same pitches, often tapping the ball off the end of the bat.
"Everything before was off the end of the bat because I wasn't trusting my body and my hands to relax and get through it," Stanton said. "That's why everything was off the end of the bat before."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter