The Yankees’  Giancarlo Stanton stands in rightfield during a spring...

The Yankees’  Giancarlo Stanton stands in rightfield during a spring training game against the Marlins on Thursday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

TAMPA, Fla. — Only by the end of the regular season will it truly be known if Giancarlo Stanton’s body transformation paid dividends.

But signs in the early part of spring training are pointing that way.

Stanton, who has been amiably coy about how much muscle mass he shed in the offseason (club insiders have estimated it to be at least 15 to 20 pounds), started in rightfield Thursday night in the Yankees' Grapefruit League game against the Marlins at Steinbrenner Field, a 0-0 tie.

“Just getting back [into] the rhythm,” Stanton said after going 1-for-2.

Before the game, Aaron Boone said that for him, among the positive signs he’s seen when it comes to the 34-year-old Stanton was his immediate desire to see action in the field.

“In my initial conversations with him when he got here, I think he felt a little ahead of the curve as far as getting out there [the field] because one of the first things I talked to him about is when he wanted to get out on the field,” Boone said. “The fact he’s eager to get in there [the outfield] this early . . . Those are all good signs about where he’s at and how he feels about his body right now.”

Stanton, who easily put away the one ball hit his way Thursday, a routine fly by Jon Berti, wasn’t much of an option in the field during his nightmare 2023 season. He was sidelined  for six weeks in the early going because of a left hamstring strain and never looked right — running or doing anything else — upon his return.

Stanton, who lined a single to right in his first at-bat Thursday and hit into a 4-6-3 double play his second time at the plate, ended up hitting .191 with 24 homers and a .695 OPS in 101 games last season.

Before leaving Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, where the Yankees’ regular season ended, Stanton said there would be “changes” coming in the offseason.

The most evident of those was a reduction of muscle (Stanton being in shape has never been an issue in his time in the big leagues) in order to make his body more mobile and flexible.

“My timing’s good. It’s been good with it,” Stanton said of playing at a lesser weight than the 245 he’s typically been in his career.

What does Boone hope the drop in weight will accomplish?

“Hopefully first and foremost, hopefully health,” he said. “But definitely moving around, being more athletic, being more of a presence running the bases, more of a realistic option in the field. All those things.”

Boone said he has not noticed a difference in Stanton’s ability to hit the ball hard, nor has Stanton. “Strength’s the same,” he said.

Boone said Stanton seems to be “in a great place strength-wise.”

“Maybe the strongest guy still on the team and all that,” he added, later saying Aaron Judge would be in that conversation as well. “And definitely moving better. It’s noticeable to certainly the strength and conditioning staff and the training staff that evaluates that.”

First-year hitting coach James Rowson does not have a previous version of Stanton from which to compare but has been impressed with what he’s seen on the field and indoors in the cages.

“He’s driving the ball, you see the ball carrying, you see the ball having a pretty good backspin for what he’s trying to do,” Rowson said. “So just in pure power, as far as where the ball’s going, you can tell it’s real. What I like even more is the work he’s doing behind the scenes — the drill work, his cage work, his attention to detail in the cage with what he’s doing. He has a plan. Every swing has a purpose right now, so I’m really excited about him early on.”

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