Alan Diaz
April 19, 2016

MIAMI (AP) The first player to take advantage of the cozier dimensions at Marlins Park was the home team's slugger, Giancarlo Stanton.

''It's 1-0, us,'' Marlins president David Samson said Tuesday. ''We're keeping track.''

The outfield fences were lowered and moved closer to home plate during the offseason. On Monday, Stanton hit a drive against the Washington Nationals that cleared the center field fence near the 407-foot sign.

Last year, with the fence 418 feet away, the drive would have been off the wall. Instead, the ball landed in a hedge.

''It's much better than a double, I'll tell you that,'' Stanton said. ''It'll come in handy throughout the season.''

From 2012 to 2015, the first four seasons at Marlins Park, only 412 homers were hit there. That was the second lowest total in the majors, behind 411 homers at San Francisco's AT&T Park.

Stanton, the Marlins' $325 million slugger, hit 68 of those homers. Even so, he complained the park didn't play fair because it was too roomy.

He said it's too soon to predict how much the changes will benefit hitters, but he began the week in the market for some help. He struck out 15 times in his first 37 at-bats, and his average dropped as low as .205.

''When you stink, it's not usually a big dire fix,'' he said. ''But in your head in might be. When the game is this fast, it will tear you apart.''

Stanton showed signs of shaking the slump by reaching base three times Monday, including with his third homer.

''I knew I was close,'' he said. ''But knowing it's close and finding out how to get past it are two different things.''

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