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Stanton says he'll return Saturday, plans to play in Home Run Derby and All-Star Game

ST. LOUIS -- After testing his right knee out for about 40 minutes in 105 degree heat Friday afternoon at Busch Stadium, Giancarlo Stanton said he feels good enough that he expects to be back in the Marlins lineup Saturday and plans on participating in both the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game next week.

The 22-year old slugger, who hasn't played since he felt his knee lock up during Monday’s game at Milwaukee, said he will eventually need surgery to remove the "loose bodies" in his knee. But for now, he is looking to manage his knee with treatment.

As long as the Marlins remain in the playoff hunt, and he doesn’t feel he will create any further damage, Stanton said he will hold off on a procedure.

“I’ve had knee problems before, so I’m not new to the fact of managing it,” Stanton said. “It’s just new to this feeling. I know my body well. So, it’s just a matter of what’s it going to do, and tell me.”

In his pre-game workout Friday under the supervision of team trainers and assistant Gary Thurman, Stanton ran along the outfield wall and then played catch. He then tracked down fly balls and grounders hit to him by Thurman, before firing them back in to pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who served as his catcher. Later, Stanton ran the bases.

The feeling in his knee, he said, is “weird.” But as long as it is just weird and not restricting, Stanton said he will continue to play.

"The muscles around it, my knee are not used to something bouncing around in there," he said. "It's been a little pissed off, not moving the way it's supposed to. But after getting warmed up and stuff, it was fine.

"What we don't want to happen is for it to get stuck in some place it shouldn't, and make ligament damage. [But] the risk of that isn't very high. It would lock up and tell me to stop before that. So, go from there."

Stanton said he has to monitor the way he plays closely. "I’ve got to read my body,” he said. “If I’m changing the way I run or hit or anything, then that is going to lead to other problems and change the way I play on the field.”

If that is the case, he could end up having surgery before the season ends.

Stanton said he was told surgery could mean him missing two to eight weeks. 

“It’s a big gap, but it all depends to the reaction to it,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot of swelling or bruising. So that means it would be however my knee reacts to being cut open.”

Stanton said the chunk of "loose bodies" -- bone/cartilage -- is big enough that he can actually push it up or down with his fingers when it slides over to the side of his knee.

Asked about getting back in the Marlins lineup for a day game with temperatures expected to be around 106, Stanton laughed.

"After what I did out there [Friday]," he said. "That's a piece of cake."

> Cardinals All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, a Marlins killer this season, will not face Miami this weekend. He's returned home on bereavement. 

FRIDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (40-42): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Carlos Lee 1B, 4. Logan Morrison LF, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Greg Dobbs RF, 7. Omar Infante 2B, 8. John Buck C, 9. Ricky Nolasco RHP.

> Cardinals (44-39): 1. Rafael Furcal SS, 2. John Jay CF, 3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Carlos Beltran RF, 5. Allen Craig 1B, 6. David Freese 3B, 7. Daniel Descalso 2B, 7. Tony Cruz C, 9. Jake Westbrook RHP.

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