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Mike Stanton showing off more than just his power in month of May

Mike Stanton's six home runs in May have been a nice lift for the Marlins, especially after injuries caused him to get off to such a slow start in April.

Mike Stanton But it's more than Stanton's big blasts that have the Marlins feeling better about the 21-year old slugger. It's performances like Wednesday's 2-for-3 effort against the Cubs, in which Stanton had a hard single up the middle and a run-scoring grounder through the hole into left that makes them believe he's turning the corner as a pure hitter.

"He's staying on the ball," said veteran Wes Helms, whose locker is right across from Stanton's in the Marlins clubhouse.

"He went through a period there where he was pulling off the ball. He was creating space between his head and his back shoulder. Now, he's putting that head down into the hitting zone. That's why he's driving the ball, seeing hits to center field. He's just missed some homers to left center and center. He's just gotten under them. Earlier in the year, he was hitting ground balls or striking out. So, he's right there where he needs to be. He's staying on the ball, trying to drive the ball up the middle and that's what you want your power hitter to do."

After hitting just .235 with two homers, nine RBI and 23 strikeouts in 68 at-bats in April, Stanton went into Thursday's game against the Cubs hitting .290 in May with six homers, 11 RBI and 15 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. Over his last six games, he's hit .429 with three homers and six RBI.

Helms said the turnaround started in St. Louis, when he hit a line drive home run into Big Mac Land in left field and said Stanton has been progressively getting better since.

"We want him to become a good hitter first," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "Then, the power will show."

> The Marlins matched a season-high with three steals Wednesday against the Cubs, raising their season total to 20 stolen bases (25th in the majors).

"Stealing bases is not a big part of this team," Rodriguez said. "We might hit and run and go first to third, but we don't really have that base stealing threat in the lineup. That's not a big part of us."

The more troubling part of the equation, perhaps, are the 16 times the Marlins have been caught stealing, tied for second most in baseball. Last year, the Marlins stole 92 bases and were caught just 26 times, a success rate of 78 percent (sixth best in MLB).

So what's a good percentage for Rodriguez? "I would say 75 percent, 80 percent. If you go 60 percent, that means you are being thrown out 4 times out of 10. That's not good production."

Rodriguez maintains the only player who has a green light to steal bases for the Marlins is Hanley Ramirez, who stole his ninth base Wednesday (he's been caught five times.

"He knows the pitching counts, when to go on certain pitch counts," Rodriguez said. "Other than that, we have Coghlan and [Emilio] Bonifacio who are still learning the running situations. They have the speed, but they don't have the feel of when to run."

> Logan Morrison made his third error of the season Wednesday in left field, matching his season total from a year ago (62 games) in just 20 games this season.

So could the streaker who was arrested moments earlier have led to Morrison misplaying the ball hit off the bat off Starlin Castro in the fifth inning?

"I definitely got rattled by that," Morrison said. "I don't know if it caused me to make the error, but I definitely got rattled."

> Rodriguez said setup man Clay Hensley, scheduled to come off the disabled list Sunday, pitched three innings of relief in extended spring training action in Jupiter Wednesday.

"He was supposed to throw 20 pitches and they were swinging at everything. He made nine outs," Rodriguez said. "They kept sending him out there. I was like bring that here, whatever he's doing there."

Comments

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Lou Vales

Keep Uncle Wes away from Stanton!!!! If he wants to give him advice about etiquette or restaurant quality that is fine, but NO commentary from Uncle Wesley about swinging a baseball bat. Difficult to believe Wes is related to Tommy Helms. I guess the genes don't always have it.

Lou Vales

Okay!! Tell the truth. I quit watching to walk the dog after Stanton struck out. I came back and checked the action on Yahoo and it said "Helms flew out to DEEP center", is that true?

Lou Vales

I swear by all that is holy. Omar Infante was a VERY GOOD hitter last year. He would hit the ball on the nose CONSISTENTLY. I'm not talking about to the fences but I'm talking solid line drive contact. And before you blame that silly stuff he does with his sleeve after every pitch to wipe his face, well he did the same obsessive compulsive crap last year and it had no effect. In fact he has been doing the same stuff since he played for the Tigers in the middle of the last decade.There must be something(???????????) that has suddenly caused him to lose all ability to drive the ball. Once in awhile a hard hit ground ball will find a hole but can anyone remember a hard hit liner off of Infante's bat?? I can't.

Lou Vales

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Lou Vales

Both of my auction bids came up short.Should have tried to play golf with Tommy,however, this is suppose to be a day of camaraderie.

I think we should all donate a $100.00 to LoMo's favorite charity. His dad was a brave and good man.

Glags

The walk off against the Dodgers that would've been caught if not for an infielder playing in the outfield.

laurelbowie

Maybe it's time for the Marlins to shell out some money for a real hitting coach. Guess they could have done that if they hadn't blown 7 mil to hire Loria's buddy with the dead arm.

Mrs. Samson's Douchebag

Nice 9th last nite by the Hopper to keep the game within a bloop and blast reach...why was he in there when Hopper is a 6th or 7th inning arm at best? WTF EDWIN???

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