In a surprising turn of events, the Marlins announced that Giancarlo Stanton has been reinstated from the disabled list and activated for tonight’s game against the Phillies. Stanton suffered a Grade 3 groin strain back in mid-August, and it was initially believed that a six-week recovery time was a best case scenario. That would’ve allowed Stanton to return to the Majors, at best, for the final week of the season. However, he’s now set to return to the roster in about half that time.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets that for the time being, Stanton will be limited to pinch-hitting duties, though certainly his activation creates some optimism that he could eventually be tabbed for more regular time before season’s end (though Spencer adds that there’s no definitive timeline on Stanton’s return to the lineup).
The 26-year-old Stanton is in the midst of his worst season at the plate, but even a down year for the game’s premier slugger is markedly above-average relative to the rest of the league (121 OPS+, 117 wRC+). At the time he landed on the disabled list, Stanton had a .244/.329/.496 batting line with 25 homers, but he’d been on a blistering hot streak dating back to mid-June. In 48 games leading up to his injury, Stanton had posted an outstanding .299/.361/.582 batting line with 13 homers, raising his OPS 108 points in the process.
Of course, it remains to be seen how Stanton’s groin injury will impact his ability to hit, even in a limited role. His mere presence on the bench, however, will factor into the decision-making process of rival managers, as will the presence of returning first baseman Justin Bour, who was also activated from the DL today. In Stanton and Bour, the Fish will get their two top power threats back into the mix as they look to stay alive in the National League Wild Card race. Miami has dropped a dreadful nine of its past 10 games, falling to five games back of the second Wild Card spot in the Senior Circuit.