Giancarlo Stanton expects to return

ST. LOUIS -- Giancarlo Stanton was out of the Miami Marlins' lineup for the fourth straight game because of right knee injury, but he expects to play Saturday and then be a full participant for next week's All-Star festivities, including the Home Run Derby.

Manager Ozzie Guillen has no problem with those plans, saying "I'd love for him to do that." But Guillen added: "I just want him to be ready for us, not for the National League."

Stanton struck out as a pinch hitter to end the ninth inning Friday night.

Stanton was among the National League leaders with 19 homers and had 50 RBIs. After working out for 40 minutes, Stanton said he'd be ready for the second game of a three-game series at St. Louis leading into the break.

Both Stanton and Guillen said the injury will require surgery at some point, but both were hopeful it could be put off until after the season.

Stanton has what doctors are calling "loose bodies," either cartilage or bone chips, in the knee.

"Part of me wants to shoot my legs off and get new ones, but that's not going to happen," he joked. "It's just a weird feeling, but it's not restricting at the moment. It's got to come out sometime. It's a matter of can I cope with it as long as possible."

Guillen said if he had to rest Stanton occasionally, he'd be fine with that arrangement.

"We have to monitor him," Guillen said. "I'd rather have him four or five times a week than nothing."

Stanton said it would be important that if he played through the injury, that his mechanics wouldn't be affected.

"I have to read my body," Stanton said. "If I'm changing the way I run or hit or anything, then that's going to lead to other problems and change the way I play on the field."