Every Major League team has to deal with injuries, players taking the field hurt, the 15 and 60 day disabled lists, and player rehab programs. It’s part of the big leagues and smart franchises build from the bottom up to prepare for the inevitable player days lost each year.
But nothing I have seen in my baseball lifetime matches the relentless waves of player injuries experienced by the San Francisco Giants in 2011. As bad as it’s been this year, on August 16, 2011 it just careened off a cliff and into the world of the surreal.
Scary “Twlight Zone” icon Rod Serling may have said it best: “Consider if you will a team perennially at the bottom of Major League Baseball’s run production list for much of the past two years. Then take a journey with that same team into a fourth dimension where their very best hitters go down one after another like chess pieces on an out of control carousel.”
Of the three best hitters in the Giants’ line-up two have been lost with season ending injuries: Buster Posey on May 26th and Freddy Sanchez on June 25th. San Francisco’s other top hitter, Pablo Sandoval, hit the 15 day DL on May 1st and just yesterday hit a ball off his foot that will move him off 3rd base to 1st base. For now.
The team boldly attempted to kick-start its anemic offense at mid-season by accquiring the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and the Astros’ Jeff Keppinger. But Beltran strained his wrist a week ago and hasn’t played since– today he went on the 15 day DL. Jeff Keppinger just had an MRI on his right wrist after a collision at 1st base yesterday and it appears that Keppinger will not join Beltran on the DL.
And the rest of the injury list?
1. NLCS MVP Cody Ross and center fielder/lead-off hitter Andres Torres started the season on the disabled list after Spring Training injuries.
2. Closer Brian Wilson started the season on the 15 day DL.
3. Reliever Santiago Casilla hit the DL on April 16th.
4. Mark DeRosa April 29th and also on May 15th.
5. Pablo Sandoval May 1st.
6. Rookie slugger Brandon Belt fractured his wrist and went out June 5th.
7. Starter Jonathan Sanchez’s leg problems put him out for 15 days on June 25th.
8. Slugger Pat Burrell’s foot strain put him on the DL on July 15th
9. Andres Torres hit the DL for the second time this year on August 13th.
10. Outfielder Aaron Rowand strained his intercostal muscle in yesterday’s game and is day-to-day.
11. Set-up man Sergio Romo was put on the 15 day DL on August 16th with inflammation in his right elbow.
12. Nate Schierholtz had x-rays on his right foot from a foul ball in yesterday’s game (results negative).
For a team struggling to score runs the injuries to Giant hitters have been devastating. At this point it will be fascinating to see how management can forge an effective offense in the battle to take the National League West.
The August 16, 2011 game with the Atlanta Braves
In order for the Giants to field the required number of players for tonight’s game at Atlanta, some creative assignments had to be made:
> started Miguel Tejada who was about rehab in a minor league game after coming off his own stint on the 15 day DL;
> started Aubrey Huff in left field for just the second time this year;
> started Brandon Belt in right field for the first time this year
> started Pablo Sandoval at 1st base for just the fifth time this year.
To top it off, starter Jonathan Sanchez had to leave the Braves game in the bottom of the third inning after rolling over on his left ankle making a play to first base. He apparently has a bad ankle strain.
Folllow up notes:
— Jonathan Sanchez did miss his next start on Sunday 8/21/11 and was replaced by lefty Dan Runzler. Runzler is also scheduled to pitch in Sanchez’s next start on Saturday August 27th.
— Closer Brian Wilson went on the 15 day DL on Sunday August 21st with a tender elbow.
Welcome to the 2011 San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse and row after row of empty hurt lockers.