San Francisco Giants: The Hits Just Keep Coming


The hits just keep on coming for the San Francisco Giants. And not those good kind of hits, the ones that score runs when you put together a few of them in a row. The injuries hits just keep on coming.

The most recent victim to the injury bug is the Giants’ leadoff hitter and left fielder Nori Aoki. On Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, Aoki was hit on the helmet by a 92 mile-per-hour cutter that got away from Jake Arrieta. Aoki immediately went down in a heap while experiencing nausea.

More from Golden Gate Sports

It seemed like the Giants dodged a big bullet, as Aoki passed all the standard concussion tests, and was cleared to play. He didn’t start on Tuesday against the Houston Astros, but was ready to go, as he was on deck when the final out was made in the eighth inning.

He was in the lineup on Wednesday, doing his normal thing, batting first and playing left field. He went hitless in his first two at-bats, and in the fourth inning, he made a weird, twisting catch that concluded with Aoki slamming his back against the left field wall.  He was promptly removed, as Justin Maxwell took his place to start the fifth inning.

It’s possible that the collision re-triggered his symptoms, but that’s just speculation. Either way, it doesn’t make a difference now. All signs are pointing towards Aoki being placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, and the Giants being down another key piece.

Injuries have been the name of the game so far this year for the Giants. They’ve had a revolving door leading straight to the disabled list all season. Hunter Pence has been there twice. Tim Hudson twice as well. Gregor Blanco was also on the concussion DL earlier in the year. Matt Cain and Jake Peavy each spent a couple of months on the shelf. Jeremy Affeldt made a trip as well, but not for his yearly “freak accident”.

More from San Francisco Giants

Joe Panik, Angel Pagan, Andrew Susac, Tim Lincecum, and Mike Leake (after making just one start) are all currently on the injured list.

The Giants have had the benefit of using their “full strength” lineup just 10 times in 113 games so far this year, and that number doesn’t figure to increase any time soon. They own a 6-4 record when running with the full gambit.

It’s easy to forget what that lineup would even look like, so here’s a quick reminder: Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy (or Casey McGehee, very early in the season), Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan, and Hunter Pence. That combination of players has been together just 10 times.

The Giants need some help, as their starters continue to drop like flies. Some help could soon be on the way. Susac has begun his rehab assignment, and Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area speculated that the Giants could activate Susac much sooner than planned when Aoki is placed on the DL. He admitted that the plan is a “flawed one”, as the Giants wanted Susac 20 or 30 rehab at-bats, and to this point, he’s taken just seven, with one hit to his record.

San Francisco is also still locked in conversations with the Philadelphia Phillies regarding their former superstar Chase Utley. Utley is no longer the player he was once, as Father Time and the injury bug have been a terrible combination through the years. However, he could still provide something of an upgrade for the Giants, especially now that Aoki is out.

With Aoki now missing from left field, Belt could shift from first base to left field. When Posey is catching, Utley could play first base while Belt roams the outfield. Otherwise, Posey could play first base while Susac (who is a major upgrade offensively over Hector Sanchez) plays catcher.

The Giants aren’t out of the playoff picture by any stretch of the imagination. But with the gauntlet they face in their August schedule, they could find themselves on the cusp of elimination by the time the calendar turns to September. The team needs some help, and a little luck as well, quite frankly, to get through this stretch.

Next: Madison Bumgarner Does What Aces Do