Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice Tuesday for the first time since Friday, an encouraging sign the Marlins right fielder is getting closer to returning to the starting lineup.

Stanton hasn’t played since last Wednesday because of a bruised left shoulder. The Marlins will be thrilled if he can return Thursday for the start of a four-game series in Cincinnati.

“We’re just going to wait and see how it responds,’’ manager Mike Redmond said. “He hasn’t done anything in five days. We’ll see how it feels throughout the day and probably (Wednesday) and go from there.

“He said it felt good. It felt a lot better. … I’m hoping he shows up (Wednesday) and feels even better. That’d be a really encouraging sign.’’

Redmond wouldn’t put a timetable on Stanton’s return. “I just want to make sure he’s right,’’ he said.

Stanton, who wasn’t available to reporters before Tuesday’s game, said Monday night that he was encouraged about his shoulder.

“It has gotten significantly better,” he said.

The worst part, Stanton said, is watching from the bench as the Marlins struggle to score runs.

“I don’t like it, to sit there knowing I can’t do anything at this point,” he said.

“I didn’t even do much when I was there (playing earlier this season), but at least I was trying and I could give something to them. It’s not fun to watch. I’d rather be participating.”