The Miami Marlins best player by a mile, slugger Giancarlo Stanton, walked back to the clubhouse a little bruised Wednesday. Top prospect Jose Fernandez followed him, a little sheepish. Fernandez wanted to apologize for hitting Stanton in the back of a helmet with a wayward 95 mph fastball. Fernandez said he was sweating a lot and the ball slipped. (And he still got that much on it?)
Stanton, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs about 250 pounds, said in the Palm Beach Post that the beaning didn't make him dizzy, but it did cause "grayness and fuzziness on the outside of my eyes" that was subsiding. Once he caught up to him, Fernandez said Stanton acted like the whole thing was no big deal.
"When I asked him how he was doing, he laughed," Fernandez said. "I told him I was sorry. He said, 'Bro, it's OK. It's baseball. It happens.' "
Stanton was seen icing the back of his neck and the club said X-rays will be taken, though signs of a concussion were not obvious. It's hard to tell from the video if Stanton was wearing one of the new batting helmets, but it would be wise for him — once he returns — to use the bigger, stronger models that become mandatory starting with the first spring games of the season later this week. Stanton led the NL in slugging percentage and was second in home runs a season ago and, with a lot of the Marlins best talent shipped off to Toronto and elsewhere, he's the main attraction at Marlins Park.
“He’s a good teammate and a great person. It’s not a good feeling, I promise you that. I feel like (crap) right now."
If you have played the Post's video above of the pitch, you can hear someone in the stands ask, "You OK, Mike?" About a year ago, Stanton alerted everyone that he was no longer going by "Mike." It would have been funny if Stanton had reacted to the question with faux rage and screamed, "MY NAME'S NOT MIKE ANYMORE!" But he obviously needed a moment to recover from the plunking. It seems like he's going to be OK, not only according to Stanton but his manager, Mike Redmond.
Despite the beaning, Stanton said he didn't expect to miss any playing time. Redmond agreed that might be the case.
"He's a tough guy. It didn't even drop him," Redmond said. "Probably the quicker we get him back in the box the better, after something like that."
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Redmond said he's also concerned about how Fernandez, a 20-year-old who was the team's top pick in 2011, will react. Redmond doesn't want him dwelling on Stanton, or being worried about hitting someone else, going forward. Fernandez was seen sitting in the clubhouse with his head down, obviously in the dumps over what happened. Fernandez, who is expected to start the season at Class AA, is a candidate to be called up to the majors this summer. He hit five batters in 134 innings last season but, reports the Associated Press, this is his first beaning.
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