5/31/2014 3:58 P.M. ET
Slumping Salty continues to adjust to NL pitching
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Good months happen, and so do poor ones for everyday players.
Miami catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia finds himself struggling through a rough May, in which he's hitting .184 (14-for-76) with one home run and eight RBIs entering Saturday.
The rough patch came after he batted .301 with six doubles, five homers and nine RBIs in April.
Overall, the switch-hitting catcher is batting .242 with six homers and 17 RBIs.
"It happens," Saltalamacchia said. "I've had this where I've gone a month, I've gone a second half like this. The biggest thing for me right now is just trying to get familiar with the other team and how they want to pitch me -- the shifts and stuff."
When Saltalamacchia played for the Red Sox, he was used to being shifted when he batted from the left side. What he is still familiarizing himself with is the pitching in the National League. Teams have adjusted to Saltalamacchia, and he is in the progress of doing the same to the opposition.
"The pitching is a little different, so I have to get familiar with that," he said. "My main concern, and what I've put a lot of energy in, is our staff. We've been winning. That's all that matters."
While in Boston, the catcher could aim for a shot off the Green Monster in left field to collect a hit from time to time.
"I don't have the left-field wall to just pepper off of," he said. "I have some changes to make."
Stanton wants to drive in more runs consistently
MIAMI -- Hitting the longest home runs in the game isn't what satisfies Giancarlo Stanton.
The Marlins slugger just so happens to frequently hit the longest shots, as he showed yet again on Friday night with a 450-foot, two-run blast in a 3-2 loss to the Braves.
But Stanton is emerging as an all-around hitter and a complete overall player -- that's what's most important to him.
With 51 RBIs entering Saturday, Stanton tops the Majors in that category. He's also the first Marlins player to drive in 50 prior to June 1. Mike Lowell collected his 50th RBI in Game 57 of the 2001 season. Stanton reached the milestone in 54 games.
"No sign of taking it easy now," Stanton said.
To back his RBI totals, Stanton also paces the National League in homers with 16. He's also batting .317.
A year ago, Stanton battled through injuries, and he appeared in just 116 games. He finished the year with 24 homers and 62 RBIs.
Stanton wants to continue to see a separation between his home run and RBI numbers.
"That's the biggest thing," the slugger said. "I don't want my home runs to be so close to my RBIs. That's key. That makes you an overall hitter and makes you more dangerous. Puts more pressure on them and helps our whole lineup."
The batting average also is a source of pride.
"Home runs, you don't really have to be consistent to hit them," Stanton said. "But if you show up to hit every day, that shows something."
Still, the midseason milestones don't mean much to Stanton.
"Two months," he reminds. "Have a milestone at the end of the year, not a quarter into it."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez managed the Marlins when Stanton was on the verge of breaking into the big leagues in 2010.
"He's been healthy and been able to put those numbers up," Gonzalez said. "When he's on the field, there's no doubt the numbers would be there. He's been a talented guy since Day 1."
Gonzalez also reminds that Stanton now has more than 1,500 big league at-bats. Actually, the slugger is at 1,951. Players tend to come into their own at about the 1,500-at-bat mark.
"Maturity accumulates with those at-bats," Gonzalez said.
Stanton also is showing something with his improved defensive play in right field.
"I'm impressed with him defensively," the Braves manager said. "Not that he was a bad defender, but he's really, really good. He's done some good stuff out there."
Capps could need Tommy John surgery
MIAMI -- After throwing a pain-free bullpen session on Saturday afternoon, Henderson Alvarez was cleared to start for the Marlins on Tuesday at home against the Rays.
The prognosis is not so encouraging for reliever Carter Capps.
Capps will visit orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on his sprained right elbow. The hard-throwing reliever was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. Speculation is Capps could be headed for Tommy John surgery.
When Miami placed Capps on the DL, the team announced he would be shut down a month before resuming throwing. More on Capps' condition will be known after he consults with Dr. Andrews.
Alvarez, meanwhile, threw a 20-pitch bullpen session prior to the Marlins facing the Braves at Marlins Park.
"Everything is fine, so he is on schedule to make his next start on Tuesday," manager Mike Redmond said. "That's great news."
Alvarez has been dealing with some right elbow stiffness, stemming from his start on Wednesday at Washington.
Rafael Furcal continued his rehab assignment with Class A Jupiter on Saturday, and he will have a scheduled off-day on Sunday.
The plan is for Furcal to play for the Hammerheads on Monday and Tuesday. Barring any setbacks, the 36-year-old will progress his rehab assignment to Double-A Jacksonville.
Furcal, a free-agent addition brought in to play second base, has been on the DL all season with a left hamstring strain. While on rehab assignment in late April, the veteran sprained his right groin.