To say Derek Dietrich takes his physical fitness seriously is, well, a bit of an understatement:
In that way, he’s similar to former Marlins teammate and now Yankees teammate Giancarlo Stanton, who could easily be mistaken for a prodigy art student’s granite sculpture.
There’s a reason for that, Dietrich says.
“I don’t know if he can grow anymore in physical stature because the guy’s an absolute beast,” Dietrich said earlier this week. “We developed a special bond down in Miami, because we both like to take care of ourselves physically and put in work. G works harder than almost anyone I’ve ever played with – he’s always taking extra reps in the cages and doing extra conditioning. It’s definitely a blessing to be back on the same field with him.”
Dietrich and Stanton have stayed close since both left Miami – the latter after 2017 and the former after 2018 – and train together in south Florida in the offseason. Their last season as teammates saw Stanton hit 59 homers and win the NL MVP Award, and Dietrich thinks the only thing that can stop Stanton from being that player is Stanton himself.
“He has obviously matured as a player with experience, just like anyone would, with the quality of his at-bats and his leadership on and off the field,” Dietrich said. “I saw special things the year he hit 59 and won MVP. He’s that type of player, and it’s fun to watch.”
The Yankees hope that can be true for Stanton, who will make his spring debut Wednesday night after “being brought along a little more slowly” in Aaron Boone’s words. Stanton had a strong first season in pinstripes – .266-38-100 with an .852 OPS in 158 games – but he has played just 43 of 222 games over the last two seasons and hit just seven homers…just one more than he hit in seven postseason games last year.
If that tear can carry over, watch out, says Dietrich.
“G is a special player; when it’s clicking and he’s consistent, he’s absolutely the best player on the field.”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN