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Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton says he's not a loser

JUPITER, Fla. -- Since his June 8, 2010 major league debut, Giancarlo Stanton has watched the Miami Marlins go 255-335 (.432). The games in which he's appeard have yielded only a slightly better .454 winning percentage (222-267).

In each of Stanton's three full seasons the Marlins have finished in last place. Stanton before his team's first full squad workout Thursday said that has to turn around.

"I'm not a loser," Stanton said. "That's not what I'm accustomed to. Obviously, it hasn't been ideal so far. I don't want a career like that."

Whether the Marlins' offseason moves translate to a winning record in 2014 is doubtful. Reaching the 82-win plateau would require a 20-game improvement from last season. The biggest win-total jump in Marlins' history was 15, when they went from 64 victories in 1999 to 79 in 2000.

Striving to lose fewer than 90 games isn't goal worth putting on T-shirts. Yet a double-digit improvement from last year would constitute a successful season for the Marlins. Stanton offered his take on what needs to happen for the turnaround to commence.

"Everyone doing their part, not playing for themselves but taking care of what they need to do and coming together with every piece of that," he said.

Stanton's part as the club's best offensive player is a little more significant. His first priority is staying on the field. In 2012 and 2013 he totaled 123 and 116 games, respectively.

Developing offensive continuity is a challenge for any hitter who on multiple occasions misses days or weeks at a time. The stops and starts contributed to Stanton last season losing 41 points and 128 points from his 2012 batting average and slugging percentage, respectively.

To get his body accustomed to the daily grind, Stanton slightly modified his offseason workout program. He trained five days a week rather than a Monday-Wednesday-Friday routine.

Asked what he can do if he stays healthy, Stanton said: "Whatever I want. That's one thing that hasn't happened the last couple of years. I don't like to talk numbers and all that nonsense. If I'm out there good things are going to happen for a long period of time."

Good things, or at least good numbers, don't seem to happen for Stanton in April, something he hopes to correct in 2014. Stanton's career March/April slash line is .236/.327/.384, including a .227/.341/.387 last season.

The good news is Stanton devours pitching in May. His career May slash line: .307/.383/.689, including a .296/.342/.577 in 2013.

"I've noticed I'm one terrible April player," Stanton said. "I don't want to be (known) as a slow starter."

Stanton during spring training traditionally spends a lot of time in the cage tracking pitches off the machine. He hopes to stand in against more live pitching over the next several weeks. Tuesday, Stanton was in the batters' box for Nathan Eovaldi's bullpen session with the hope of improving his rhythm rather than just timing velocity.

"I'm excited and eager to get out there, but at the same time it's more a calm preparation," Stanton said.

Added manager Mike Redmond: "He seems more excited and more energized. Last year was a tough year and whether he tried to do too much or felt like he had to do everything, that's not fair to him...None of us like to lose. I played on a lot of losing teams too before we won. That makes winning that much sweeter."

Prospect watch

Three Marlins made the "Baseball America" Top 100 Prospects list. Andrew Heaney at No. 30 was rated the best left-handed pitching prospect in the minors, 10 spots ahead of Red Sox lefty Henry Owens. The other two to make the list: third baseman Colin Moran (61) and outfielder Jake Marisnick (79). ... Closer Steve Cishek, who is dealing with a sore neck, missed his second bullpen session Thursday. ... The only position player who did not report Thursday was infielder Juan Diaz, who the Marlins signed as a minor league free agent with invite to big league camp. Diaz is expected in Jupiter Friday.

(c)2014 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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