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Giancarlo Stanton targets Aug. 10 return date; Hanley homers for Dodgers

       The home run sculpture has remained largely motionless since the All-Star break, what with slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the mend from knee surgery and the remaining members of the Marlins' anemic lineup struggling just to lift the bats off their shoulders. But Stanton's days of watching helplessly as the Marlins spin their wheels will soon end (of course, not in time to save this disaster of a season).

        Barring any unforeseen setbacks between now and then, Stanton said he expects to rejoin the lineup when the Marlins open their next homestand Aug. 10 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Stanton jogged Friday for the first time on his surgically repaired right knee and said afterward that there was no soreness. He had already been taking batting practice.

        The Marlins have hit only three home runs in their eight home contests since the All-Star break. They've scored the fewest runs (32 in 14 games) and hit the fewest homers of any team in the majors since the break, and are on pace to challenge the franchise record for fewest runs scored in a season. That title belongs to the inaugural 1993 Marlins, who scored 581 runs. The current group is on pace to finish with 598 runs, which would represent the second-lowest figure by any Marlins team.

        Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez continues to bring smiles to the Dodgers since joining Los Angeles. Ramirez connected on the deciding, two-run homer in the 10th inning last night as the Dodgers defeated the Giants. Afterward, Ramirez had this to say of Dodgers hitting coach Manny Mota: "Manny spoke to me and told me, "Don't try to do too much. Just do what you know how to do.' Every day he comes and talks to me. I have a lot to learn from him."

        To see that home run, click here.

        Nate Eovaldi, whom the Marlins obtained from the Dodgers for Ramirez and Randy Choate, takes the mound tonight for the Marlins.

        Also, worth reading is this article from Forbes, which shows that the Marlins are now projected to finish with the lowest total first-year attendance figure in the new ballpark era.

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