Stanton easing back at camp after plunking
Tests reveal no concussion-like symptoms after slugger hit in head by pitch
JUPITER, Fla. -- It will take more than a 95 mph fastball to the head to derail Giancarlo Stanton.
In good spirits, the 23-year-old slugger was back to work on Thursday morning at Marlins camp.
A day after being plunked in the back of his head by a pitch, Stanton said he was feeling considerably better. As a precaution, he took it easy on Thursday and was monitored in his weight training. Stanton also hoped to take some swings in the batting cage.
"It all checked out fine," Stanton said the morning after receiving a scare. "I was pretty loopy, I must say, yesterday. But for the most part, I feel fine. ... But we're going to see how much activity [I can do] in the weight room and how that goes.
"I'd like to at least get some hitting in today. It's probably smarter not to do too much. But I'll go according to what I'm feeling and what makes sense."
During a simulated game on Wednesday, Stanton was pegged in the back of the head by a Jose Fernandez fastball.
Wearing the new MLB batting helmet, Stanton said the ball actually got him just below the helmet, at the base of his skull where it joins the top of his neck.
"It didn't hit the helmet first," Stanton said.
Staying on his feet, Stanton picked up his helmet and walked slowly back to the dugout. A few minutes later, he was driven by assistant trainer Mike Kozak back to the clubhouse for tests. An X-ray came back negative.
Feeling fine, Stanton was back to his old self on Thursday morning, joking around and preparing for the day. For the next day or so, he will be cautious, however, because immediately after being struck, he was slightly disoriented.
"Right after it happened, the outside of my eyes were blurry," Stanton said.
"I was feeling a little off," he said.
Tests showed there were no concussion-like symptoms.
The Marlins open Grapefruit League play on Saturday against the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. ET. Stanton said he expects to be ready to play, and he plans to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Wednesday's incident was a case of a pitch getting away from a 20-year-old prospect.
Fernandez, who apologized to Stanton immediately afterwards on Wednesday, was relieved on Thursday to find out his teammate was fine.
The hard-throwing right-hander said he was "feeling terrible," and he would have felt that way regardless of which player he hit. It just so happened to be Stanton, the face of the franchise and one of the biggest offensive threats in the game.
Looking to put the highly-touted prospect at ease, Stanton looked in Fernandez's direction in the clubhouse. He told the right-hander to "relax."
"I'm sure everyone is giving him a hard time, too, messing around," Stanton said. "It's not, obviously, an ideal situation."
"I don't think it's going to hurt [Fernandez's] confidence," Stanton said. "He will be fine."
Stanton has 93 home runs in 373 career games, and he belted 37 in 123 games a year ago. Getting brushed back and pitched inside is part of the game. The fact it happened by an unintentional pitch in a Spring Training simulated game raises the question of how players can protect themselves.
Stanton was hit five times by pitches a year ago, and nine times in 601 plate appearances in 2011.
Since breaking into the league on June 8, 2010, Stanton has been struck by pitches 16 times.
"It's going to happen," Stanton said. "But if they do it on purpose, and they get me, that's not happening."
Stanton pointed from his left forearm to his wrist and told reporters: "Anything here, that's like a week [of being sidelined]."
A pitch absorbed to his hand could mean missing substantially more time. In his professional career, Stanton believes he has been hit in the neighborhood of his head about three times.
"[Pitchers] have a job to do," Stanton said. "But it happens."