TAMPA — In case there was any concern Giancarlo Stanton might have sacrificed some of his power by getting lighter over the offseason, ask the cars driving by on Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday night.

They were all at risk when Stanton came to the plate for his first three at-bats against the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field, which resulted in 1,334 feet worth of home runs, a ticker-tape distance that somehow still felt light given the damage he inflicted on the baseballs.

Stanton made Pirates left-hander Marco Gonzales look like his batting practice pitcher for a Home Run Derby, clobbering the three home runs on a trio of low pitches right in his wheelhouse.


The 34-year-old Stanton is coming off the worst season of his career, and a parade of moonshots in a Grapefruit League game won’t be much help once the regular season starts next week.

“It is spring, but I haven’t hit three [in one game] before,” Stanton said. “It’s cool and it’ll be erased in about a week.”

But Stanton’s big night was indicative of how good he is feeling at the plate in his slimmed-down body.

Still a muscular specimen, Stanton arrived at spring training after an offseason in which his workouts were aimed at allowing him to “be a baseball player again.”

A month in, he has felt a difference moving around in general, but specifically with how he has been able to stay in his legs in the batter’s box.


Giancarlo Stanton hits one of his three homers in the Yankees’ 12-0 exhibition win over the Pirates.Mark Abraham/UPI/Shutterstock

“I didn’t fully realize until I was back in my legs,” Stanton said after the 12-0 win over the Pirates. “I think when I came out for my Achilles [tendinitis in 2022], that started a whirlwind of trying to be a little more release on the legs. Then just a spiral out of balance and everything. That’s very important to be able to hold.”

Manager Aaron Boone pointed to Stanton’s various leg injuries over the last two seasons, both significant and minor, as issues “that just keep you from being a Ferrari.”

Stanton looked like the vintage form Wednesday night. His first home run was the most impressive, a 455-foot shot that bounced off the top of the batter’s eye in center field and perhaps onto the highway that runs behind it.

His second home run was a 453-foot grand slam that cleared the scoreboard in left field before his third traveled “only” 426 feet to left-center field.

“I didn’t give him enough credit — I was tagging up on a couple of them, so I think he got a little mad at me about that,” Aaron Judge joked. “Impressive to see him back doing what he does.”

Stanton had a chance for a fourth home run, though he settled for a sacrifice fly to center field that he said was an important at-bat because it came against a right-hander in a high-leverage spot.

Giancarlo Stanton celebrates in the dugout with teammates after hitting one of his three homers in the Yankees’ exhibition win over the Pirates.Mark Abraham/UPI/Shutterstock

Judge has noticed a difference in Stanton this spring specifically with his swing staying in the zone longer and having the ability to use right field more often.

“I know he didn’t hit any [home runs] to right field, but I feel like when I see his bat, either when I’m in the dugout or at first base, and I see it starting in the zone almost at me at first base, I know he’s covering everything,” Judge said. “He said he was going to put in a lot of work. In the offseason, he goes and does his thing. He’s done it so far, so I think we’re all excited to see what he does this year.”

Boone, who has been encouraged by Stanton’s at-bats throughout the spring, said the DH went into the offseason “pissed off” and came into camp with an “added edge” to his focus and drive.

“I feel like he’s been in control of his at-bats,” Boone said. “Tonight, obviously he was really precise. When he’s like that, he’s pretty scary.”

As Stanton was quick to point out, though, they were only spring training home runs. The real thing doesn’t start for another week.

“It’s a good start, a good preview of spring,” Stanton said. “Now we got months to keep it together.”