Timothy Rapp @@TRappaRT Twitter Logo Featured Columnist

New York Yankees superstar Giancarlo Stanton is planning to return for Opening Day after dealing with a Grade 1 calf strain this offseason.

"The progress back has been good," he said Sunday, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. "I'm good again and everything I need to be ready."

The Yankees have been bringing Stanton along slowly in an effort to ready him for the start of the 60-game season:

Stanton, 30, appeared in just 18 games for the Yankees last season with various injuries, hitting .288 with three homers and 13 RBI. He did make five postseason appearances, hitting .231 with a homer and two RBI.

When healthy, he's been one of the top sluggers in baseball, with four All-Star appearances, the 2017 NL MVP during his time with the Miami Marlins, five seasons with at least 34 home runs and three seasons with 100 or more RBI.

Stanton picked up right where he left off in his first season with the Yankees in 2018, hitting .266 with 38 dingers and 100 RBI in 158 games. That's the level of production-albeit proportionally given the much shorter season-that the Yankees are hoping to see in 2020.

If New York can stay healthy, it should be one of the World Series favorites, headlined by Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres and Aroldis Chapman, among others. The Yankees managed to reach the postseason last year despite a rash of injuries-a healthy Bronx Bombers squad is a scary proposition.

It sounds as though Stanton should start the season healthy. Given the dramatically reduced number of games, keeping him that way is of the utmost importance for New York.