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Stanton's grand slam is historic, memorable for more reasons than busted scoreboard

Giancarlo Stanton's 438-foot laser-beam grand slam Monday night drew plenty of attention across the country because it temporarily knocked out a portion of the left field scoreboard at the Marlins' new ballpark.

Giancarlo StantonBut it was historic and memorable for many more reasons than just a busted scoreboard.

For starters, it was clocked at 122.4 miles per hour -- the fastest home run ball hit since hittrackeronline.com started charting baseball's biggest blasts in 2006. The next fastest this season was five miles per hour slower -- a 117.5 mph burner by two-time reigning home run champion Jose Bautista in Toronto.

Historically, the grand slam put Stanton, 22, in exclusive company. The only other players in Major League history to hit four grand slams prior to their 23rd birthdays are Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews and Ken Griffey Jr. Williams and Matthews are Hall of Famers. Griffey ranks fifth all-time with 680 home runs.

Stanton turns 23 on November 8th.

"That's good company," Stanton said Tuesday when told of his achievement. "Maybe I'll get five before I'm 23. Hopefully, I'll keep it going. I had a chance to get another one [Monday night], but I failed."

Stanton, once pretty shy talking about home runs, has mellowed out some in now his third season in the big leagues. Asked if he'd received a phone call from Marlins brass about damaging the scoreboard in left field, Stanton quipped: "It came back to life. But either way, I'm not paying for it, so..."

Through 291 games and 1,028 at-bats, Stanton has now homered 65 times in his career. That's an average of once every 15.81 at-bats. Historically, that ranks right behind Frank Thomas (521 homers) for 29th all-time -- and eighth among active players.

But manager Ozzie Guillen, who predicted earlier this season Stanton would injure someone with a batted ball, believes the 6-5, 246-pound slugger is on his way to becoming the most powerful hitter in baseball. If he isn't there already.

""I thought Jim Thome had some power. But this kid has some ridiculous power," Guillen said. "It's not because he plays for us. I've never seen anyone that the ball jumps off their bat like that...

"I don't see anybody has more power than him in the big leagues. Nobody. All my respect to Jim Thome. I've seen Jim Thome hit. But this kid is out of control. He's out of hand. He has some legit power."

What Stanton is also learning how to do is avoid swinging at pitches outside the zone. Although replays Monday night showed the 2-2 changeup Jamie Moyer threw Stanton was close enough to the zone to be called strike three, Stanton said Tuesday he was right not to swing at it and said he's learned in three years how to become a much more disciplined hitter.

"Coming up through the minors I did absolutely terrible with the bases loaded -- or so it seemed like," Stanton. "It seemed like every time I wouldn't get the job done. Now, I sort of just zone it out. Basically, nobody is on base. I try to do that as much as I can. Before, I'd kind of be like 'Man on 1st, Man on 2nd, Man or 3rd, Oh and I have to hit the pitch?' It's just like one runner in scoring position. The more you think about -- try to get four runs in -- you're not going to be successful.

"[At age 20] I would have been hacking at everything [Moyer threw Monday]. I fouled some balls off still. But I would have been a lot worse off. I wouldn't have had the thought process, being younger. He would have known to live off my aggressiveness to work it off the plate and what not."

> Second baseman Omar Infante, who left Sunday to return home to Venezuela and attend the funeral of his grandfather, returned to South Florida on Tuesday according to Guillen. The manager said he expects the Marlins everyday second baseman to be back in the starting lineup Wednesday. Asked if he would use Infante -- who missed batting practice -- on Tuesday, Guillen said "only in an emergency situation."

TUESDAY'S LINEUPS

> Rockies (15-26): 1. Jonathan Herrera 2B, 2. Jordan Pacheco 3B, 3. Carlos Gonzalez LF, 4. Troy Tulowitzki SS, 5. Todd Helton 1B, 6. Michael Cuddyer RF, 7. Willin Rosario C, 8. Dexter Fowler CF, 9. Juan Nicasio P.

> Marlins (23-19): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Bryan Petersen CF, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Austin Kearns LF, 5. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 6. Logan Morrison 1B, 7. John Buck C, 8. Donnie Murphy 2B, 9. Ricky Nolasco P.

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