ARLINGTON, Texas – Routines are firmly in place. The swing is coming together and, most of all, Giancarlo Stanton is figuring out what it means to be a Yankee nearly 50 games into his pinstripe life.
“Just what we mean to one of the biggest cities in the world,’’ Stanton told The Post on Wednesday night at Globe Life Park before the Yankees finished a three-city road trip against the Rangers.
“It is a cool feeling. They expect a lot out of us, and they show their love on both sides for it.’’
With boos and cheers. Sometimes in the same game. Stanton then broke Yankee Life down to its basic nature.
“It’s for men,’’ the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder said with a smile.
Stanton has embraced the challenge. He will man up. Here is where Stanton is at as a hitter now that he has nearly two months in a new league and new city under his belt.
“Much better,’’ he said of his swing. “Less giving away at-bats. More being tough on the opposing pitcher, and there is room for much more growth and improvement, too. Yeah, so I am much more comfortable the last three and four weeks and just seeing the ball better.’’
The numbers show that. He went into the night batting fourth and riding a seven-game hitting streak. Over the last 12 games he owned a .362/.415/.681 slash line.
Noted manager Aaron Boone, “I think the patience has grown. As his patience grows, eventually he is going to get more pitches on the plate, which he can do a lot of damage with. I still feel he is working to get locked in. I think it’s a tribute to him and how productive he has been when he hasn’t even hit that stride yet that we feel he can hit at some point. He is in position consistently to do damage with a mistake.’’
All this comes with the territory of change.
“I’m used to having control of things and that was difficult,’’ last year’s NL MVP said of so many little changes. “It got to the point where it was feeling like I was asking too many questions.
“Just in general, like knowing where to go, a new ballpark every road trip, where’s the weight room? Where’s the batting cages?
“Practicing in left field, then in right field and finding a DH routine,’’ he said. “The best thing now is getting control over my routine again. I’m not making excuses about it, just understanding that’s how it is.’’
Teammates marvel at Stanton’s work ethic.
“He’s a humble guy who comes here to work,’’ Aaron Judge said. “That’s a type of clubhouse we have. I remember one early game in spring training he had two or three strikeouts and he was in the cage just hitting off that fastball machine, and working on sliders, like for an hour and a half after the game. It was so cool to see that.’’
Overall, Stanton was batting .263 with 11 home runs and 28 RBIs with a .514 slugging percentage and .340 on-base.
“Even when the first few weeks went the way they went,’’ Stanton said of his struggles, “I wasn’t worried about it. I was going to work my way out of it.’’
After all, this is what he wanted.
“I wanted to get a chance, first, to win every night,’’ he said of becoming a Yankee. “It’s not about having a good couple of weeks. It’s not about having a good 40-game stretch. Expect (to win) every night no matter who is out there, no matter what conditions there are, what anything is, we expect to win.
“If an opposing pitcher is good, then just wait, we’ll just grind him down and get him out of there. I’ve never had the luxury of being a part of that. It’s awesome.
“Getting a hold of a new lifestyle, it’s definitely cool,’’ he said. “This is a great clubhouse. Miami was a great clubhouse, too. We are all fighting together, and that’s what brings you closer in general. It’s not a one-man focus out there. We hang out and relax and enjoy the wind-down. These guys will put the time in, and that is just like me.’’
Stanton is showing more emotion on the field, too.
“Because it’s more for a purpose,’’ he told me. “It’s one thing when the guys do good and you are 15 games back, you can’t be jumping out your cleats. If you hit a three-run home run and you are down by six, you put your head down and run, but if you hit a three-run home run and you are down by two, then you get some excitement going. That’s how I play. I’m intense. I get angry. I get happy. I get it out for two or three outs and then turn the page.’’
Every day as a Yankee for Giancarlo Stanton, the page continues to turn.
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