Sportress of Blogitude

Giancarlo Stanton starting to take at-bats in games without protective mask

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Giancarlo Stanton for the first time on Tuesday night stepped into the batter’s box without a protective face guard attached to his helmet, something he has been wearing throughout spring training and the early part of the regular season.

And the results were good.

In his sole at-bat without the custom, carbon fiber face guard, Stanton lashed a 2-RBI double down the left field line in the Florida Marlins’ 8-2 throttling of the Atlanta Braves.

Stanton has stumbled out of the gate thus far this season, having only three hits in his first 23 at-bats heading into Tuesday’s game. But his bat came alive against the Braves, as the slugger went 3-for-3 with 4 RBI with two runs scored while also drawing two walks. It was easily Stanton’s best game at the plate, before and after the removal of his face guard.

The outfielder addressed his decision to not wear the face guard after the game, saying it mainly stemmed from the fact he was facing a left-hander, according to a report from The Palm Beach Post. When asked if he planned to don the mask against righties, Stanton said yes, “for the most part, most likely.”

He was then asked what his plan was heading into Wednesday’s game against Braves left-hander Eric Stults.

“Honestly, it’s whatever I feel like doing,” he said.

And sure enough, Stanton stepped to the plate against Stults sans mask.

Stanton’s production at the plate, though, was not as prolific as it was on Tuesday, as he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in Miami’s 6-2 win over Atlanta.

Stanton has been wearing the face guard as protection after being drilled in the face by a fastball late last season, a scary incident that resulted in facial lacerations that required stitches and caused dental damage and multiple facial fractures. It’s an encouraging sign indeed that he feels comfortable enough at the plate to ditch the apparatus, even if it’s not during every at-bat at this point.

[H/T Big League Stew]