Luis Matos

Giants activate Slater off concussion IL, option Matos to Triple-A

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Less than three weeks after he was named the National League's Player of the Week, Luis Matos is headed back to Triple-A. 

The Giants optioned Matos on Wednesday morning, clearing a roster spot for Austin Slater, who returned from the concussion IL and went right back into the lineup as the center fielder against lefty Jordan Montgomery and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Slater hasn't played since May 10, when he crashed into the center field wall at Oracle Park.

For a couple of weeks after that injury, it seemed the Giants would have a very difficult time finding a roster spot when he returned. Heliot Ramos and Matos gave the Giants a lift, with Matos having a historic RBI-filled weekend at home that led to the weekly honors. Ramos has continued to hit, and right now he's the Giants' hottest position player, but Matos has gone into a deep slump.

Since driving in 11 runs in back-to-back games, Matos is batting .153 with zero extra-base hits in 63 plate appearances. He has a .343 OPS in his last 14 games, and Giants coaches have tried to get him to be more selective in recent weeks. Matos has been aggressive early in counts, leading to a lot of quick outs. He drew just three walks in 21 games during this latest call-up.

"Aggressiveness is kind of who he is, but you can be a little too over-aggressive," manager Bob Melvin said on the Giants Talk Podcast this week. "He was getting some good pitches to hit early on when he first got here and being Player of the Week. Now, the league starts to learn you a little bit and (it's), 'Look, we can go a couple inches off the plate or whatever.' The next adjustment is making sure you're getting good pitches to hit and swinging at strikes. 

"That's kind of what he's battling with right now. You don't want to completely take away his aggressiveness, but there's always adjustments you have to make over the course of the season, especially in the big leagues, and I think that's the one for him right now."

The Giants will try to get the 22-year-old back on track with everyday playing time in Triple-A. With Jung Hoo Lee done for the year, they're out of everyday center fielder options, but Slater and Mike Yastrzemski both have plenty of experience there and can platoon for now. Tyler Fitzgerald and Brett Wisely also can play center as needed. 

Slater hit just .128 in 49 scattered plate appearances before getting hurt, but his career OPS against lefties is above .800, and Melvin will take another look to see if he can help spark a lineup that hasn't scored much since Matos went into a slump and LaMonte Wade Jr. got hurt. 

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