Time for Giancarlo Stanton to shrug off his slowest start yet

From ESPN - April 16, 2018

NEW YORK -- It's about three hours before the New York Yankees are set to take on the rival Boston Red Sox when suddenly one of their many large-framed players appears in the confining visitors clubhouse.

For much of the half hour that reporters had been inside the room ahead of the series finale at Fenway Park, the 6-foot-6 Giancarlo Stanton had been in obscure parts of the building, out of sight.

Just as quickly as he breezes into the cramped quarters donning a sleeveless workout tee and baseball pants rolled up high to show his navy socks, he disappears. Before he vanishes he does pause briefly to grab a bat, a pair of batting gloves and a set of bulky, noise-canceling wireless headphones from his narrow locker. He walks out another door carrying them all in one hand.

It's time for him to go back to work.

"I do not want to call him an over-worker, but I guess I would call him that," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He's someone that, he just works his tail off. He's constantly down in the cage, constantly getting extra swings. It's something that, if anybody is looking for something to say to him it's, 'Hey, kind of back off.'

"But it sounds like 'back off' is not in his personality."

Since his arrival to the Yankees in December as part of a trade with the Miami Marlins, Stanton has earned a reputation for being one of the team's most studious and tireless pregame and postgame hitters. The additional swings he has taken after games have been catching the attention of his teammates, and his work before games watching and rewatching subtle nuances within his mechanics has manager Aaron Boone noticing, too.

Much of that explains the Yankees' patience with the slugger despite some of the struggles he has had this young season, particularly at home.

It's also part of the reason why as the Yankees return Monday to the Bronx from a two-city road trip and welcome to town Stanton's former employer, the Marlins, they are readying for the moment he goes on one of his red-hot hitting stretches.

They believe it's only a matter of time when that happens.

"For a guy like Giancarlo, he's going to have weeks where he gets a little out of whack and it does not necessarily look pretty," Boone said. "When he's right with his timing, it will start to happen in a big way. And once that happens, he will get rolling and be a dominant player."

Added Cashman: "That's just his history."

From the time he entered the league in 2011, Stanton has gone through multiple cycles of highs and lows at the plate.

Take for example May 2016, when he went through the worst month of his career. Through 22 games he batted .173, hitting just four homers, driving in only seven runs and striking out a blistering 35.2 percent of the time.

That July went dramatically differently. He hit .305 with seven home runs in 25 games, and he struck out just 27.6 percent of the time.

"Just watch film, settle down, make sure I am not trying too hard and trying to do too much, which could subconsciously creep in, no matter what," Stanton said of trying to snap out of slumps. "That's the main thing. Just get a good pitch to hit and do not worry about the outside noise."

Not long after Stanton's arrival to New York, his agent, Joel Wolfe, presented Cashman anecdotal evidence about how ugly the low moments might seem with his client. Wolfe wanted to apprise Cashman to the same thing National League scouts and executives had long noticed about the streaky slugger.

"When he's in these patches, it's pretty tough to watch," Cashman said. "But like any pro he just battles through it and he does and then goes on a surge.


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