Giancarlo Stanton (shoulder) expected back Thursday

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t played in a week because of a left shoulder contusion. But things are suddenly looking up for the young slugger.

According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Stanton felt fine after taking batting practice on Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to return to the Marlins’ starting lineup for Thursday night’s series-opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

“Stanton hit today, and he said things felt good,” manager Mike Redmond told reporters before Wednesday’s series-finale with the Nationals. “He should be good to go for tomorrow. That’s a good sign, obviously. We all know how important he is to this lineup. That’s good news. He felt better today.”

Stanton was batting just .167 with a .575 OPS in nine games before the injury, but it shouldn’t take him long to get going. The 23-year-old hit .290/.361/.608 with 37 home runs and 86 RBI in 123 games last season.

Phillies sign Trevor Plouffe to minor league deal

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Infielder Trevor Plouffe has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reports. Plouffe asked for and was granted his release from the Rangers earlier this month.

Plouffe, 31, had a double and a home run in 17 plate appearances with Triple-A Round Rock to start the 2018 season. He spent last year with the Athletics and Rays, putting up a meager .198/.272/.318 batting line in 100 games.

Plouffe has mostly played third base throughout his career, but can also handle the other three infield spots and both outfield corners, so he’ll serve as organizational depth at Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the Phillies.