Injury Update for the San Francisco Giants:

Posted: July 10, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio
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If it seems as though you have been seeing more of the Sacramento RiverCats and less of the San Francisco Giants these days, then you may just realize how serious the injury bug has impacted the Orange and Black. If not for the fact that the backup corps has been stellar, fans would be watching the Los Angeles Dodgers storming up from behind.

As it is the Giants remain six-and-a-half games ahead of LA after their 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park. The good news is that Sergio Romo shut down the D-backs in the eighth inning for the second straight game, thus reestablishing his position as the set-up guy for Santiago Casilla.

Here are the most recent developments:

Gregor Blanco: After missing three games with a strained left knee, Blanco was able to pinch-hit in Tuesday’s game against the Rockies. He punctuated his recovery Friday night, by hitting his first home run of the season, also his first as a pinch-hitter. He is listed as day-to-day.

Angel Pagan: Pagan was kept out of last Sunday’s lineup for general soreness. He had played in nine straight games. He returned to the lineup for Monday’s day-game against the Colorado Rockies, and was the difference with his two-run home run.

Denard Span: Span had an old neck injury resurface, aggravated while evading a pitch during the Oakland series. It was looking as though a return to the disabled list was in order, before he made rapid improvement this week. 

Span’s MRI results were negative and after being out of the lineup for a week, he returned Friday, going 0-5, but making a superlative back-handed catch in right-center field. The catch off the bat of Ricky Weeks occurred in the ninth inning with a runner on board, and after crashing into the wall, Span almost doubled the runner off first base.

Hunter Pence: Pence took batting practice last Saturday, the first step toward rehabbing his surgically repaired torn hamstring in his right leg. He reported no discomfort when working the weight machine, but that he can not yet drive off the leg when he swings a bat. Pence is slated to return in late July or early August and would appear to be on that time-line.

Joe Panik: As of June 29th, Panik was placed on the 7-day DL for concussion symptoms suffered in mid-June when he was struck by a pitch. After passing the concussion tests the first three times, Panik showed symptoms the fourth time they ran the battery of tests. He is expected back after the All-Star break.

Matt Duffy: Duffy was reported by Andrew Baggarly to be out of his walking boot and now taking ground balls, and seemingly on track to return to the lineup after the All-Star break.

Kelby Tomlinson: Tomlinson has been rehabbing in Sacramento with the RiverCats; he will return to the Giants after the All-Star game.

Matt Cain: Cain is on track to return after the All-Star break. He made a rehab start a week ago Saturday in an Arizona (Rookie) League game. He went three-and-one-third innings, giving up two runs on three hits, one of them a home run, and struck struck out six.

Sergio Romo: Romo hurled his second consecutive scoreless eighth inning, Saturday afternoon against the D-backs, indicating that his return from the 60-day disabled list is obviously a great success.

Ehire Adrianza: Out since April 15th, Adrianza’s recovery from a broken left foot has gone slower than intended. It was originally thought that he would miss six-to-eight weeks.

The replacements:

Ramiro Pena: 16 G, 44 AB, 5 R, 16 H, 7 RBI, .364/.378/.477/.855. Pena missed four games with a sprained ankle but is back, fully recovered.

Conor Gillaspie: Gillaspie had nine hits in 18 at-bats, at one point earlier this week, with six runs scored. In his last thirty games, his line looks like this: 21 G, 51 AB, 9 R, 17 H, 9 RBI, .333/.370/.490/.861 (quite similar to that of Pena).

Grant Green: Stats since being called up: 8 G, 30 AB, 9 H, 5 RBIs, .300/.344/.433/.777. Grant hit the decisive two-run home run in Saturday’s win over the D-backs.

Ruben Tejada: Stats in his last seven games as a Giant: 6 G, 17 AB, 2 R, 4 H, 1 RBI, .235/.278/.412/.690. Tejada doubled home Gregor Blanco in Saturday’s game, in the sixth inning, for a much-needed insurance run.

Jarrett Parker: Last 30 games: 52 AB, 9 R, 15 H, 2 HR, 5 RBIs, .288/.422/.423/.845

Mac Williamson: Since he has been recalled: 17 G, 46 AB, 10 H, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .217/.333/.370/.703

Albert Suarez: 3-1, 6 Games started, 49 IP, 3.67 ERA, 13 BB, 34 SO, 1.10 WHIP

Derek Law: 3-1, 2.90 ERA, 32 G, 1.10 WHIP

Unlike last season, when the Giants staggered and eventually dropped out of the race after losing Pence, this season there has been no let-down.

The club’s record was 33-21(61.1%) on May 31st. Since Pence went down, the team has gone 23-12 (65.7%), so you can see that not only is there no let-down, the team has picked the pace up.

Part of the explanation is the improved starting pitching, though Jeff Samardzija has continued his inconsistent streak, but the main reason is that the replacements have been stellar.

One of the hardest roles to perform in baseball, is to step in cold to replace a regular in the lineup, especially if you are coming up from the minor leagues. Not only are you on a new team, you are playing at a considerably higher level.

From Pena’s .364 batting average to the home run power supplied by Parker and Williamson, to the 3-1 record of Suarez and his 1.10 WHIP, those entrusted with the task of not allowing the team to sag, have collectively done their jobs to infuse fresh enthusiasm into the clubhouse. 

The result is that San Francisco remains six-and-a-half games up on Los Angeles, the Dodgers contending with the injury bug themselves with the shelving of Clayton Kershaw. His lower back flared up recently and he was placed on the 15-day DL on June 29th.

One of the earmarks of championship teams is that they have depth. It’s an intangible that often separates the top dogs from the dead dawgs. The day he replaced Matt Duffy in the lineup, Conor Gillaspie went 4-5, after riding out an 0-for27 stretch.

He has been hot ever since.

Derek Law and Albert Suarez have been huge, and though he was sent down when Sergio Romo was activated, Suarez is back, having established himself as legitimate.

As long as the guys who are busing back and forth from Sacramento to San Francisco, can continue to help rack up the wins, there is no need to panic. Just don’t let that bus get “…stuck in Lodi, again.”

Mark O’Neill

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