MLB home run leader Stanton out 4-6 weeks
Miami — For the second year in a row, Giancarlo Stanton's chances of winning the major league home run title have been hurt by an injury.
The Miami Marlins slugger has a broken left hand, which is expected to sideline him four to six weeks. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and will meet with a hand specialist.
Stanton, who grimaced as he swung and missed for strike three Friday night in the ninth inning of the Marlins' 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, said the injury became worse as the game progressed.
"We're hoping that it will be the quickest course possible, but certainly not great news when you lose a guy that means what he's meant to this ballclub and to baseball," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said before Saturday's game.
Stanton led the majors with 27 homers and 67 RBIs when sidelined. Last year he was in the thick of the home run race when a beaning ended his season on Sept. 11, and he finished tied for second in the majors with 37 homers.
"It's very disappointing to see with the work he puts in," reliever A.J. Ramos said. "You see the year he's having so you're definitely disappointed and you feel bad for him."
The latest injury means Stanton will miss the All-Star Game, and it's a big blow to a team that lost its fifth game in a row Friday to fall a season-worst 15 games below .500.
While Stanton took lusty cuts in the ninth, he said the injury occurred earlier in the game.
"On a swing, my bat dug into my hand a little bit and didn't feel the greatest," he said Friday after the loss. "It got worse and worse."
Stanton's hand appeared swollen, and he said it hurt where he grips the bat. He went 0 for 4 on the night, which included a broken bat.
He grounded out in the first inning and struck out in the fourth, sixth and ninth innings. Stanton said he didn't think the broken bat affected him.
"No, I don't think it was that at-bat," he said. "Probably the swings and misses."
Stanton has 12 homers in June, tying the franchise record for any month. Despite his power surge, the Marlins had been woeful lately, batting .201 and averaging two runs a game over the past nine games through Friday.
"Now it's upon us to pick it up and we can't feel sorry for ourselves," Jennings said. "It would be easy to toss in the towel right now or we're going to find out what kind of fighters we have and how we step up."
His injury comes as the team anticipates the return Thursday of ace Jose Fernandez, who has been sidelined more than a year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Stanton signed a record $325 million, 13-year contract last November. At age 25 he has 181 career homers, but because of injuries has never played more than 150 games in a season.