JUPITER — The attraction when Giancarlo Stanton plays is always the hope of a jaw-dropping home run.
Sunday, it was enough just to see him running around for six innings in the Marlins' 11-0 exhibition loss to the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium.
It was the first time Miami's most important player had seen game action in eight days due to soreness in his right knee that flared up after a March 5 game against the Cardinals.
Considering Stanton had surgery on the knee in 2012, the early spring setback as he was getting back into game shape after missing more than half of last season with a broken left hamate was troubling.
The Marlins have downplayed concern, but the club took a cautious approach, letting Stanton rest and ease back into the regular workout routine.
He was listed Sunday as the DH. So even the scorekeeper was caught by surprise when Stanton jogged to rightfield for the first inning.
"I wanted to get a quicker gauge," Stanton said after exiting after two plate appearances. "Why not? Just sitting (as) DH is not a good gauge for a situation like that. I wanted to be out there running around.
"I felt relatively good. We'll see how it reacts in the next few hours."
Run he did, even taking off and getting thrown out on an attempted steal after drawing a walk in his first at-bat against Matt Harvey. The stolen base attempt was the result of a missed sign, manager Don Mattingly said, certainly not part of the script for the slugger in his first game back from a leg issue.
"If he didn't feel good he wouldn't have been playing," Mattingly said.
BUMGARNER SCRATCHED: Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner was scratched from his spring start against the Padres with tightness in his ribcage and a nerve condition in his left foot. Bumgarner said both issues were minor, but he wanted to take care of them now rather than let them linger.
NATIONALS: Manager Dusty Baker strongly implied that right-hander Max Scherzer will be the team's opening day starter April 4 in Atlanta.
ORIOLES: Catcher Matt Wieters said the tests on his sore right elbow came back "pretty normal," though he didn't have a diagnosis on what the issue was. Wieters had reconstructive surgery on the elbow in 2014. "It's frustrating, just because of all the surgery and all the rehab that you go through," he said.