Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton knows his main goal for the season: 'Just showing up'

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Scott Thompson
·2 min read
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Giancarlo Stanton stands waiting in outfield during spring training
Giancarlo Stanton stands waiting in outfield during spring training

The No. 1 priority for Giancarlo Stanton each season hasn't been to put up MVP numbers that he's more than capable of doing.

It's to stay healthy.

Speaking to the media before the Yankees' spring training matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Stanton said that he doesn't focus on those that wish he put up that 2017 stat line with 59 homers, 132 RBI and a .281 average. He knows being healthy for the team throughout the 162-game season is the main goal.

"I’m expected to produce the best that I can and to be out there on the field," Stanton said. "So I think that’s the starter. And I’m not really worried about the numbers that come if I’m out there. You can look back over the years, I’ve never said I want to hit these many [home runs] or do that. If I’m out there and can have time to adjust to what I see or any new rhythms of the game or how I’m being pitched, that’s the most important aspect. Just showing up.”

Stanton added that he has been working on his body all spring and making sure that it is ready for the marathon of a season ahead. The Yankees should be using him most nights as the team's DH, but he did say he should be getting left field reps "before camp breaks." Clint Frazier will mainly stay in left field, though.

The Stanton the Yankees saw in the postseason, especially in the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays is the one they hope kicks off the 2021 season, too. He was tracking the ball nicely in the zone, and the results were there -- many times in home run form.

And a lot of that success has to do with Stanton's adapting to how pitchers want to get him out at the plate. Two seasons ago, he would be seen swinging at breaking pitches low or even in the dirt. But last season was a clear indication that he has adjusted and is laying off those pitches and hitting what's in the zone.

Manager Aaron Boone went as far as to say Stanton is a better hitter now than he was as an MVP. He agrees.

"I do agree with that. I would say I have a better sense of the zone," he explained.

"I definitely am a better hitter than that point now. Have the results showed? No. But I am."

Stanton is hoping those results come out this season. But, he said, he just needs to make sure he's available to play first before making that happen.