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Stanton adds to legend with 500-foot homer

Rehabbing Meyer says it is farthest ball he's ever seen hit

05/07/10 8:10 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- The legend of Mike Stanton builds with each passing day.

Not only does the Marlins prospect pace all of baseball with 14 home runs. It's where the 20-year-old slugger is hitting the ball that has the organization in awe.

For Double-A Jacksonville on Thursday night, Stanton belted his most monstrous home run to date. No. 14 came at Montgomery, and the ball cleared the scoreboard in center field.

Estimates are the ball was anywhere from 500-550 feet.

Reliever Dan Meyer, on the disabled list, is throwing rehab assignments for Jacksonville. Meyer called Marlins ace Josh Johnson and told him it was the farthest ball he's ever seen hit.

Heading into Friday, Stanton had 100 at-bats at Double-A. Along with his 14 homers, he has eight doubles. So 20 of his 34 hits have been for extra bases. His batting average is .340, and he has an .840 slugging percentage.

The question remains: What's next? Will the Marlins promote him to Triple-A or the big leagues? Barring a change in thinking, the team is leaning toward bringing him up to the Marlins sometime in late May or early June.

"From what I've seen in Spring Training, he's got strike zone recognition," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's got a short swing. He's got bat speed."

Owner Jeffrey Loria is leaving Stanton's next step up to the team's front office.

"When he's ready, he will be here," Loria said. "The baseball people will decide. When he comes here, we don't want him to fail. He will probably be here this summer."

Loria says he gets several Stanton updates a day, from family and those within the organization. Loria's 12-year-old nephew, who lives in Suffern, N.Y., texts him regularly about Stanton.

"[Stanton] is exciting. He will be very exciting," Loria said. "You want to always provide the foundation for success, not for temporary success."

Loria backs Gonzalez, denies speculation

WASHINGTON -- Don't read into speculation that Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez's job is on the line.

Team owner Jeffrey Loria on Friday dismissed the speculation while making no apologies for setting a goal of reaching the playoffs.

"There is nothing wrong with having goals and standards," Loria said.

FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal recently stated that Loria was upset with the team's play, and that Gonzalez may be on the hot seat.

Wanting to ease Gonzalez's mind, when Loria arrived at Nationals Park on Friday, while the Marlins were taking batting practice, the owner went up to Gonzalez and told him to ignore the reports. Loria gave Gonzalez a hug. The manager said he was unaware of the report.

Asked about Gonzalez's status a little while later by reporters, Loria said: "Stop with that. Fredi and the Marlins are just fine. Enough already."

Heading into a three-game series at Washington, the Marlins are 13-15, after being swept by the Giants at Sun Life Stadium. Gonzalez had a team meeting with his players before Friday's game.

"We had a State of the Union address," Gonzalez said, noting the team is close to .500 while playing less than perfect baseball.

Loria believes the parts are in place for the Marlins to contend.

"There are a number of young players who are, let's face it, struggling," Loria said. "If we change that struggling at the top of the lineup, it's a different situation. We'll get it straightened.

"I'm not thrilled with being two games under. The team is better than that. Fredi had a long talk with them today. They know they aren't playing up to their abilities, but I have no worries, whatsoever. They're going to be fine."

Petersen called to Majors for flexibility

NEW ORLEANS -- Injuries created an opportunity for Bryan Petersen in Spring Training, and his impressive form has lead to a call to the Major Leagues.

Inconsistencies are part of the reason the outfielder was promoted from Triple-A New Orleans on Friday.

After Thursday's loss to the Giants, the Marlins announced they had selected the contract of Petersen while designating Mike Lamb for assignment.

The left-handed-hitting Petersen gives the club some flexibility in the field, at the top of the order and off the bench. At New Orleans, he batted .290, and he hit leadoff, second and even third. Manager Fredi Gonzalez noted he would likely hit either first, second or eighth.

Petersen is expected to make his first MLB start on Sunday, when the Nationals throw right-hander Livan Hernandez.

"We'll pick our spots with him," Gonzalez said.

Petersen gives the Marlins five outfielders. Right now, veteran Cody Ross is a lock to see substantial playing time, either in center field or right. Chris Coghlan and Cameron Maybin have struggled thus far. Maybin likely will start on Saturday.

Coghlan hasn't been starting recently against lefties. And Brett Carroll has taken advantage of playing chances.

In Spring Training, Petersen had 67 at-bats, which was second most on the team. Only Coghlan, who had 70, batted more. Petersen stuck around a long time in the spring because Ross, Maybin and Carroll all missed time with injuries.

"He got the Cal Ripken award in Spring Training. He played every day," Gonzalez said jokingly.

Petersen sensed he was about to get promoted when he was scratched from the New Orleans lineup on Thursday night.

"I was grateful for the opportunity they gave me in Spring Training," Petersen said.

Worth noting

Dan Meyer, on the disabled list with a strained left calf since April 26, is continuing his rehab assignment with Double-A Jacksonville. The left-hander was expected to throw two innings of relief on Friday night. In three rehab outings with Class A Advanced Jupiter, Meyer gave up one run in four innings with eight strikeouts and a walk.

Third-base/infield coach Joe Espada returned to the club on Friday after he was away a few days due to a death in his family. Bench coach Carlos Tosca coached third during the series with the Giants.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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