San Francisco Giants: Injury News and Updates


With about a month left in the season, the San Francisco Giants’ window to make the postseason is very rapidly closing on their fingers. They have 29 games left to play, and trail in both the NL West and NL Wildcard by 6.5 games. They need a blazing hot streak, and some help around them to have a shot at getting to meaningful October baseball, and possibly winning their fourth World Series in six years. Some of their injured players will soon return, and hopefully provide the boost they are looking for.

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It’s been a rough couple of weeks for All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford. His career year has screeched to a halt because of a pair of injuries. After suffering a minor oblique injury, Crawford missed five games, but returned to the lineup on Monday in the series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. His return was short-lived, as in the 13th inning of a 14-inning affair, he was hit on the back leg by a hard slider from Chris Hatcher. The contusion on his calf forced him to miss the last two games of the series.

Crawford is improving, and was thought to be available as a pinch-hitter for Wednesday’s series finale, although he was not used. He didn’t start because he was uncomfortable making some movements at shortstop, but the team hopes that he will be well enough to start Thursday’s series opener in Colorado. His bat would be a welcome addition to a lineup that has featured a badly-slumping Ehire Adrianza way too much over the past week-plus.

Crawford’s double-play partner, Joe Panik, may not be far from re-uniting the All-Star middle infield combination. Panik, who has been sidelined since very early August with an inflamed back, has been working on the field with the team and trainers over the past week. He is set to start a rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday.

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If all goes well in his three-game stint, Panik is expected to be activated on Monday ahead of a three-game series in Arizona. Although his replacement Kelby Tomlinson has done very well filling in, Panik’s bat and defensive prowess are tough to duplicate. Having his bat back in the number-two spot would be another extremely valuable addition.

Matt Cain is expected to join Panik in Sacramento, and will pitch on Friday in a rehab start. Cain is on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his surgically-repaired right arm, and before being shelved, was struggling mightily to find any sort of consistency with a new release point.

Cain’s falters left the door open for Chris Heston to take his spot, but Heston also struggled badly in his return start against the St. Louis Cardinals. With the next start from this spot in the rotation scheduled to come Friday, there has yet to be an announcement as to who will toe the rubber. Heston has had a terrible time in Coors Field this year, so manager Bruce Bochy is weighing all his options before making up his mind.

The Giants’ Energizer Bunny, Hunter Pence, has had miserable luck in the injury department this year. He’s been on the disabled list twice because a broken wrist, and then tendinitis in the same wrist, and now finds himself on the shelf for the third time, because of a strained oblique.

Progress has been slow for Pence, who took 20 swings on Monday. Although there was no setback, Pence is not improving as quickly as he had hoped, and won’t be ready in time to play with the River Cats before their season ends on Sunday.

Bochy mentioned to Andrew Baggarly before Monday’s game that Pence could play for the High-A San Jose Giants, if the team makes the Cal League playoffs, and Pence is well enough to play by then. At least if the San Francisco team doesn’t make the postseason, Pence could say he played some second season baseball, if the stars align that way.

The Giants are flying to Colorado for a four-game set with the Rockies starting Thursday, but Tim Lincecum went ahead of the team to meet with Dr. Marc Philippon, a hip specialist, to see about his ailing hips. The two are expected to come up with a plan on Thursday, and there will almost certainly be an option for surgery in place.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman wrote an encouraging story on Lincecum earlier this week. He stated that doctors have told Lincecum that he would most likely be ready for Spring Training next season, and could possibly regain some of his lost velocity, if he were to go under the knife. Increased range of motion in his hips could allow him to generate more torque from his lower body, reminiscent of his earlier days.

However, time will tell if the surgery will help, or if Lincecum has in fact thrown his last pitch as a Giant, or as a professional pitcher altogether. Here’s hoping that Lincecum isn’t finished quite yet.

EDIT: Lincecum underwent surgery early Thursday morning, and is officially done for the 2015 season.

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