7/20/2014 1:08 P.M. ET
Stanton credits Derby with restoring homer stroke
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton may not have won the Home Run Derby, but the event helped the Marlins slugger regain his power form.
Stanton had been in a home run slump before the All-Star break. The 24-year-old snapped a drought of 75 plate appearances without a blast Friday night in Miami's 9-1 loss to the Giants at Marlins Park.
On Saturday, Stanton connected again, boosting his National League-leading total to 23.
"Having to lock in for the Derby made me feel better," Stanton said. "I wasn't myself the last couple of weeks. The short time off and the Derby kind of helped me out. I think it will be all right."
At the Home Run Derby, which took place last Monday at Target Field in Minnesota, Stanton belted the longest homer of the night. It sailed into the upper deck in left field, estimated at 510 feet.
Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes won the Derby, with Stanton being eliminated in the semifinals.
Throughout his career, Stanton has had the knack of belting home runs in bunches. He's also demonstrating his pure power. Off Madison Bumgarner on Friday night, his blast was measured at 466 feet by ESPN's Home Run Tracker website. The drive off Sergio Romo on Saturday was estimated at 417 feet.
In terms of distance, Stanton stands alone in the Majors. Of his 23 homers, 19 have been measured at more than 400 feet. His average distance is 425.3 feet, tops in the Majors. San Francisco's Michael Morse is second at 420.5 feet.
Often, you hear about the Home Run Derby negatively impacting a player's swing. In Stanton's case, the event helped.
"I had to lock in," the slugger said. "I had to get my swing in the perfect groove."
Marlins bolster pitching, call up DeSclafani
MIAMI -- At some point in the second half, the Marlins were expecting to recall pitching prospect Anthony DeSclafani. Ideally, they were hoping it would be at a later date.
But because the bullpen is thin after just two games since the All-Star break, the Marlins on Sunday recalled DeSclafani from Triple-A New Orleans, and optioned infielder Ed Lucas to New Orleans.
Miami now is carrying 13 pitchers and just 12 position players, meaning manager Mike Redmond will be working with a short bench for at least a couple of games.
"We needed a guy who can pitch multiple innings," Redmond said. "We've had to use all those guys the first two games of the series, which we weren't anticipating."
The bullpen has been called into service because Miami's starters worked a total of 6 2/3 innings in the first two games of the series with the Giants at Marlins Park. On Friday, Nathan Eovaldi was lifted after four-plus innings, because he was tagged for eight runs.
Henderson Alvarez on Saturday was lifted after 2 2/3 innings due to a left shin injury. Alvarez was struck just above the ankle by a comeback shot off the bat of Joe Panik in the third inning.
Sam Dyson, the primary long reliever on the squad, threw 70 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. He won't be available for a few games.
Lucas, who had been seeing starting time at second base, became the choice to send down to New Orleans. Jordany Valdespin was called up Saturday, and he has made two straight starts at second.
"It's not perfect. It's not ideal," Redmond said. "Obviously, we lose a position player, so we're going to play short a position player, which is not a perfect scenario. But we need the pitching."
DeSclafani made five starts in the first half for Miami, posting a 1-2 record and a 7.40 ERA.
"We know he has quality stuff. He knows that," Redmond said. "When he gets in there, we need him to throw strikes and eat up innings."
Marlins in wait-and-see mode with Alvarez
MIAMI -- Henderson Alvarez appears to have avoided a potentially serious injury. Now, the Marlins are waiting to see if the right-hander will be able to make his next scheduled start, which is lined up for Thursday at Atlanta.
Alvarez was struck on the left shin by a comeback grounder in the third inning of Miami's 5-3 loss to the Giants on Saturday night.
"I'm sure he's sore," manager Mike Redmond said. "We'll know more in another day or so, when he throws his bullpen and plays catch."
An X-ray on Saturday came back negative, and Alvarez is receiving treatment. The right-hander, who was selected to the All-Star Game, says he anticipates being ready to go at Atlanta.
"I've got to give it a couple days to see how it heals," Alvarez said. "But as of now, I'm looking to pitch in Atlanta."
Alvarez will test his leg Monday, his scheduled throw day. Redmond noted if the team's ace needs another day or two, that also could be an option.
"I'm anticipating him being able to make his start," the manager said. "If it's sore, then we have the flexibility to push him back a day, to give him an extra day. Whatever he needs."