TAMPA — It might be only early March, but Giancarlo Stanton is already putting up some impressive Statcast numbers.
Stanton’s first hit of the spring was a double to left on Sunday in a 4-0 win over the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
It jumped off his bat against Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler and the exit velocity was measured at 109.4 mph.
Then in the fifth, the DH drilled a double to deep center, this time off Ivan Nova, and it clocked in at 109.8 mph.
“He looks ready to go,’’ DJ LeMahieu said. “He had a couple of missiles today. That’s Big G for you there.”
The Yankees are counting on more of that from Stanton, who was unable to stay healthy for most of the last two seasons before erupting in last year’s playoffs with six homers in seven games.
“Stanton’s been barreling up the ball,’’ Aaron Judge said. “He looks just like his playoff form from last year.”
Aaron Boone has spoken glowingly about Stanton’s approach throughout the spring, saying the 31-year-old has matured as a hitter and in some ways may be better than he was in 2017, when Stanton hit 59 homers and won the NL MVP while with the Marlins.
He was traded to the Yankees that offseason and hit 38 home runs in his first year in The Bronx while battling a hamstring injury and has since been limited to 41 regular-season games over the past two seasons.
The flashes Stanton showed last October — and again Sunday — have left the Yankees excited about what might come next, but he still has to prove he can stay on the field.
“Giancarlo is healthy and that’s the bottom line for him now,’’ Boone said.
While Stanton hit the ball harder than anyone else Sunday, Brett Gardner provided the only runs with his second-inning grand slam off Wheeler.
“That gives [Gardner] something to talk about with the big boys,’’ Boone said of the shot down the right-field line. “That will put some air in his sails.”
Judge said the slider was down and in, and “right in [Gardner’s] wheelhouse.”
More important than the home run is the quality of the 37-year-old’s at-bats after signing just before camp opened following a prolonged free-agent process.
“I’ve liked the way he’s looked,’’ Boone said.
The manager added he told hitting coach Marcus Thames that Gardner might actually be ahead of where he was a year ago at this time, but Thames disagreed.
Either way, he was able to wait on Wheeler’s breaking ball for his first home run of the spring and he later drew a walk off Ivan Nova.
Boone said there are so far no plans to make any cuts to major league camp, but they will take advantage of Monday’s off day to rearrange where some players are, with more players on the 40-man roster expected to move from the minor league complex to Steinbrenner Field by Tuesday.
Asked what he’s noticed most about his team at this point during spring training, Boone said, “Our depth has stood out to me. We’re trying to get lineups in place for a handful of days and there’s a lot of good players to get in there.”
He also praised the team’s “business-like hunger and one-mindedness taking shape.”