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Not returning this season a "possibility" for Giancarlo Stanton, but not his desire

Giancarlo Stanton, for the first time, acknowledged there’s a chance he might not play again this season due to a hand injury that has been slow to heal.

“There’s always a possibility (of not returning), but (that’s) not what I’m looking for,” said Stanton, who is continuing to strengthen his surgically repaired left hand in hopes of getting back on the field for the Marlins.

But Stanton said he is beginning to have “a little bit” of concern that might not be possible.

Stanton was expected to miss four-to-six weeks following surgery to repair the broken hamate bone he sustained on June 26. At the time, he was leading the majors in home runs and RBI.

But the recovery has gone slow, and Stanton said he doesn’t yet have the strength in his hand -- specifically with his little and ring fingers -- he requires for torque and power.

“It’s my pinkie and ring finger’s strength, they’re lacking,” Stanton said. “To have no grip strength, to have no feeling at first, that’s what I’m coming back from. So that’s taking way longer than I could have anticipated, coming from zero.”

Stanton played in one minor-league game earlier in the week, removing himself after three plate appearances due to continued discomfort in the hand.

Now, after taking off a few days, he said he’s ready to resume hitting off a tee. Even if he regains the necessary strength in the hand, he’ll have to jump back into the Marlins lineup with no rehab work to work on his timing.

“You can’t keep going with the days off and then coming up and still trying to have my timing and everything right now, especially since it has to be show-and-go because there’s no minors to play in,” Stanton said. “That’s the other element.”

Stanton said getting back on the field for the Marlins is not a matter of having peace of mind going into the offseason.

“No peace of mind, either way, to be honest,” Stanton said. “It’s just better to be out there than not. It’s not like I’d be worried about playing with the time off. I want to play.”