Posted on August 22, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
When Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton went to the DL with a groin injury he suffered sliding into second base on August 13, the team initially believed the injury would keep him out for the remainder of the 2016 regular season. However, both Stanton and the team appear to be changing their tune and now believe there’s a chance he’ll be back on the field before the end of the season to help the Marlins earn a spot in the postseason.
Following an MRI, Stanton was diagnosed with a Grade 3 strain of his left groin. The Marlins estimated his recovery time at six weeks, which would take us all the way to the last week of the regular season. However, that would have been the best-case scenario and not necessarily the most likely outcome. But Stanton says he wants to return before the end of the regular season, and the Miami front office is behind him.
“He’s going to be back,” says Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill. “He’s told me he’s going to be back. He’s going to help this team get into October and help us get through October.” Stanton is Miami right now doing rehab work, but less than 10 days after being put on the DL he is not yet at the point of being cleared to resume baseball activities.
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“His rehab, to this point, has been great,” Hill said. “All of the feedback we’ve been getting has been very positive, and he’s in good spirits.” Such positivity is obviously a good sign for the Marlins, but even Hill admits it’s still too early in the process to know if Stanton will be back before the season comes to an end. “I don’t think we’ll be able to truly assess where he’s at until he is doing functional, on-field stuff.”
Stanton was not having his best season, but the Marlins undoubtedly miss the constant threat of power he provides, especially with first baseman Justin Bour still on the DL with a high-ankle sprain. Bour himself is still a few weeks from returning and may not be back until the middle of September at the earliest. One wonders if the Marlins may attempt a waiver trade before the end of August to add some reinforcements. There were even suggestions that the team may be interested in Carlos Gomez, who has since signed with the Rangers.
The Marlins have won five of eight games since Stanton got hurt, including a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, another wild card contender, over the weekend. However, the Marlins also dropped three straight games against the lowly Cincinnati Reds last week, so they’ve had both highs and lows in the short period of time since losing Stanton. The Marlins currently sit a game and a half behind the St Louis Cardinals for the second wild card, with the Pirates and New York Mets close behind.
The Marlins would undoubtedly benefit if Stanton is able to come back from injury before the end of the season. The wild card race figures to come down to the final week of the season, and Stanton being available for that week could give the Marlins the lift they need to reach the postseason. However, surviving another month without him will be a challenge, and of course, there is still no guarantee he will find his way back onto the field before the season ends.