While Giancarlo Stanton is challenging a Marlins record for most home runs in a month, he says he's a lot prouder of the rise in his batting average than he is in the big blasts. Stanton has walloped 10 homers in May -- two shy of Dan Uggla's one-month mark of 12 (May, 2008). But he's hitting .333 in May, bringing his average up to .296 overall.
"I don't like having a low average, period," Stanton said. "I don't like a 1-for-5 with a homer. Everyone else is like 'great game' because you hit a homer. But I really don't like it. That's the kind of hitter I've been working to be and always wanted to be."
Stanton credits Jeff Conine for part of his hitting surge.
"Conine told me something about what I was doing in batting practice that I wasn't doing in April," Stanton said. "I hit all my rounds to right field last year. He was wondering why I didn't do that again this year. I just wasn't going only to right field. Now I'm back to that."
Heath Bell is still the closer.
"This is a very touchy, sensitive point," Guillen said. "I keep saying, and I told him a couple of minutes ago, it's going to be hard for us to win if Heath Bell is not our closer. It's easier for everyone if this kid comes out and does what he's done in the past. We've got to get him back on track. The only way to get him back on track, we have to build his confidence. Maybe a lot of people don't believe that. But I'm the manager and I'm not going to kick the guy when he's down. I will take full responsibility if we fail in that department. My job is to put him there and create more confidence.
"It's easy to criticize, it's easy to bury somebody when he's down. I think my job is to continue to believe in him. He's not hurt. He still throws pretty good. I wish he'd throw more strikes. So does he. But I will bite the bullet from the fans, from the front office, from everybody."
Outfielder Justin Ruggiano was added to the Marlins roster on Sunday one day after being obtained in a trade with the Houston Astros. Guillen says he'll use Ruggiano the same way he used Kearns, off the bench and as a starting corner outfielder when the opposition sends out a lefty starter.
"We need a right-handed hitter that can come off the bench," Guillen said. "You can see yesterday we had to put Solano out there. He can play the corners. Coghlan and Petersen are going to be in center field."
The Marlins optioned OF Kevin Mattison to Triple A New Orleans and transferred RHP Jose Ceda to the 60-day disabled list.
MARLINS: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Infante, 2b; 3. Ramirez, 3b; 4. Stanton, rf; 5. Morrison; 1b; 6. Petersen, cf; 7. Buck, c; 8. Coghlan, lf; 9. Nolasco, p.
GIANTS: 1. Blanco, rf; 2. Crawford, ss; 3. Cabrera, lf; 4. Posey, c; 5. Pagan,cf; 6. Huff, 1b; 7. Arias, 3b; 8. Theriot, 2b; 9. Cain, p.