NEW YORK — Earlier in the month of May, Giancarlo Stanton was one of the hottest hitters in all of baseball, capping off a 12-game hitting streak in which he was batting just under .500.
As Stanton trudged back to the dugout in the eighth inning on Monday, however, the slugger was showered with a chorus of boos.
Stanton returned from the injured list on Friday in Detroit after missing 13 games with a left quad strain. To say he's struggling over his first three games back from the IL would be an understatement.
The 31-year-old is 0-for-12 with eight strikeouts. He's often looked befuddled at the plate, a completely different hitter than the player that was tearing the cover off the baseball during his historic hot streak.
Even if Stanton is still in search of his first hit since a stint on the IL, manager Aaron Boone couldn't be less concerned about his designated hitter.
"G will be fine," Boone said. "As long as he's healthy and starts to get his reps going, he'll be fine."
Boone pointed out a towering fly ball off Stanton's bat in the bottom of the third. Stanton worked the count to 2-0 before just missing a meatball in the heart of the plate.
His other three at-bats didn't go as planned. He struck out on three pitches in the first, grounding back to the pitcher in the sixth before going down looking in the eighth.
Stanton wasn't the only one that couldn't produce on offense on Monday. New York was stifled by left-hander Rich Hill and a slew of relievers in a 3-1 series-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx.
Yet another disappointing performance for the reeling Bombers, New York has now lost four in a row and six in their last seven games.
It takes far more than one ballplayer to win in this league, but it's no coincidence that the Yankees went 8-4 during Stanton's torrid run a few weeks ago. When Stanton is locked in at the plate, testing the limits of Statcast with seemingly every trip to the batter's box, it opens doors for the rest of this lineup as well.
Struggling for three games won't derail the entirety of Stanton's season, it's just more apparent with his highly-anticipated return from the injured list. The slugger is now hitting .259 (37-for-143) with nine home runs, 24 RBI and an .819 OPS over 36 games.
Heading into the month of June, Boone is confident that Stanton will get back to his walloping ways. He just needs to get back into his groove and stay healthy.
"It's fair to say he's probably dusting off some rust right now, but as long as he's healthy, he should round into form," Boone said.
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