08/22/12 2:07 AM ET
Buck using whole field to break out of slump
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
The veteran catcher belted a home run and had three singles in the Marlins' 12-3 win over the D-backs at Chase Field on Monday night.
It was the fourth time in Buck's career that he's had four hits in a game, with the last one previously on Aug. 20, 2010, in Boston while he was with the Blue Jays.
In an otherwise rough year, Buck certainly welcomed a big night, as he raised his batting average to .198.
Although his numbers are down from the past, Buck is enjoying a strong August, hitting .347 with two homers and seven RBIs in the month.
Buck is finding success by using the whole field. On Monday, he homered to right-center.
"When they're pitching me away and kind of throwing me offspeed stuff, it's important to go the other way and let the ball travel and not try to over-swing and pull everything," Buck said. "Obviously, whenever I try to do that, that's when I do good."
Buck took a good-natured jab at himself, adding: "But I'm thick-headed and a little dumb. So it takes me awhile, I guess."
The Marlins are splitting time with Buck and rookie catcher Rob Brantly, who started on Tuesday night at Arizona.
Brantly is a left-handed hitter, and he's been getting starts against right-handers. But manager Ozzie Guillen isn't making the position a straight platoon.
As a veteran with a big league track record, Buck still is getting his chances.
"He's been swinging the bat very well the last couple of weeks," Guillen said. "I think he's doing what he's supposed to do, trying to hit the ball the other way and go with the pitch. Don't try to do too much. Hopefully he continues to do that and don't forget what he did."
Stanton making it tough to take him out of lineup
PHOENIX -- Five home runs already on the road trip is making it difficult to keep Giancarlo Stanton out of the lineup.
For a while, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen considered giving the 22-year-old slugger occasional days off. After all, Stanton underwent surgery on his right knee on July 8, and he was activated from the disabled list on Aug. 7.
"Right now, I'm not looking for a day game, night game," Guillen said. "He's going to play every day. He's missed too much time. We're going by ear."
With a doubleheader slated for Wednesday at Arizona, there is a chance Stanton will not start in one of them.
"Maybe tomorrow, it might be one game, just for prevention," Guillen said.
Stanton has started in nine straight games, and he's heating up. In Monday's 12-3 win over the D-backs, he had two home runs, giving him five on the road trip.
"My body is letting me," said Stanton, who has 26 homers on the season. "I thought I'd need a little more days off, but it's responded well. The day game [Sunday at Colorado], it was a little tired. But it's still feeling pretty good."
Despite missing a month, Stanton is tied for third in the National League in home runs. He and Arizona's Jason Kubel each have 26. Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals is second with 28, and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun has a league-high 33.
Stanton has a shot at winning the home run title, despite appearing in 93 games compared to 113 for Braun.
"There is no doubt," Guillen said. "If that guy stays healthy, even in the ballpark that we play."
Marlins Park is one of the most difficult places to hit home runs. It ranks 26th in total homers of the 30 MLB stadiums.
According to spray chart information, Stanton has hit seven balls to the warning track at Marlins Park that would have been out of many other buildings. Three of those drives resulted in doubles, while four were long outs.
Fourteen of Stanton's home runs have come on the road, where he has played in six less games than in Miami.
"This kid has a chance to become a tremendous, spectacular ballplayer," Guillen said. "Because, when this kid learns how to hit, and how they're going to pitch to him, he's going to be very fun to watch.
"Right now, he's still learning about baseball. He's chasing bad pitches. When he chases bad pitches, that's when he gets into trouble. Let the guy pitch to you. That comes with experience. That comes with more games playing. That comes with knowing the league better, the pitchers better. That comes with whoever hits behind him. When this kid starts learning all those little things, wow, wow! He's going to become a very dangerous hitter."
Stanton has put on a clinic on the road. In Colorado a few days ago, he smashed a drive estimated at 494 feet, which makes it the longest shot of the season.
"When I got this job, I remember people saying how far this kid can hit the ball," Guillen said. "I said, 'I don't need far. I need a lot.' I'm seeing both."
Bonifacio exits early with right knee pain
PHOENIX -- Emilio Bonifacio exited Tuesday night's game after one inning, but it wasn't because of a left thumb issue.
The Marlins center fielder was lifted for pinch-hitter Gorkys Hernandez in the second inning due to right knee pain. Bonifacio is listed as day to day. He'll have an MRI exam on Wednesday morning to determine the severity of the ailment.
"It started bothering him pretty bad," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's the reason we took him out of the game. I don't know if he did it when he threw the ball in the first inning.
He came out of the game. They told me Boni is in the trainer's room. I went to check him out and he couldn't play."
Injuries have plagued the speedster all season. Twice he spent time on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb. He was activated on Sunday when the team was at Colorado.
On Tuesday night, Bonifacio led off against the D-backs, and he struck out looking in his only at-bat. He played center field in Arizona's five-run first inning. He caught two fly balls and didn't have to run a great distance for either one.
When his spot in the order came up in the second inning, Hernandez came in to pinch-hit.
The Marlins play a doubleheader at Arizona on Wednesday, and the team is off on Thursday, before facing the Dodgers on Friday in Los Angeles.
Bonifacio is batting .258 on the season, and he ranks among the National League leaders with 30 stolen bases.