Since he entered the Major Leagues in 2011, Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has had plenty of success against the Nationals, hitting .341 with 14 home runs and 32 RBIs. MLB.com caught up with Stanton recently to talk about his performances against the Nationals.
MLB.com: Ever since you came into the league, your biggest success has come against the Nationals. How do you explain it?
Giancarlo Stanton: You can’t attest it to anything specific. They have one of the best pitching staffs in the league. There is nothing I can say that clicks against them. It’s just one of those things.
MLB.com: Most of your success has come at Nationals Park.
Stanton: It has a great backdrop. You can see the ball pretty well out here. There isn’t anything special other than that.
MLB.com: On Twitter, I call you the living legend because of what you do against the Nationals. When you hear that, what do you think?
Stanton: Thank you. That’s cool. You have to take it for what it’s worth knowing there are other great players. I’ll keep pushing forward and play.
MLB.com: The Marlins didn’t play badly during Spring Training. How do you think they will do this season?
Stanton: The spring is completely different from what we are about to go through now. I’ll take the energy from spring and hope to put it together [for this season]. We are going to have adversity and we are going to have great competition. We have to step up.
It’s all up in the air. We have to put it together. We’ll be fine. It could go either way. It’s one of those things where we have the tools to do it. So we have to surprise some people. It’s how long those tools are going to stay sharp, or are we going to go out?
MLB.com: Bryce Harper once tweeted that he wouldn’t mind having you as a teammate. He said this after you were upset about the Marlins being dismantled during the offseason. What was your reaction to Harper’s comments?
Stanton: It was cool. We would all love to play together. Us in the same lineup would be ridiculous. It was all in good pleasure, all fun.
MLB.com: A lot of fans would love to see you play in DC because of your success at Nationals Park. How good is it to know that the fans in DC respect you?
Stanton: It’s good. When fans who are not from your city respect the way you play and know the type of player that you are, it’s such a good feeling.
MLB.com: What kind of season do you think you will have?
Stanton: I have to be locked in. Everybody says that every year. I say more so this year because … there is not added pressure, but obviously more people are looking to me this year than in previous years. I don’t need to live up to anybody’s expectations. That’s not my focus. I need to live up to what I’m capable of. That’s one day at a time, that’s one at-bat at a time.
Nationals right-hander Christian Garcia received good news on Sunday. The team doctors cleared him to start playing catch and he threw on flat ground from 45 feet that same day. On Monday, he threw from 60 feet.
“It went really well. I couldn’t have done any better,” Garcia said. “The ball came out of my hand well.”
Garcia, who is on the disabled list because of a right forearm tendon injury, will stay with the Nationals until they go to Cincinnati on Thursday evening. He will then start his throwing program in Viera, Fla.
Garcia still doesn’t know if he is going to be a starter or reliever. Manager Davey Johnson has made it known that he would like Garcia to be a starter.
“I have no idea. Right now, we are trying to get back into the throwing program,” Garcia said. “It’s about staying healthy and getting on the mound again.
Garcia didn’t pitch in a Grapefruit League game after feeling pain in his forearm during the team’s first workout in February. He felt the cold weather played a role in his discomfort.