Casey Schmitt

Giants' unfortunate injury luck opens door for youngsters to step up

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SAN FRANCISCO – For months now, there has been heavy construction on Interstate 80 heading north to Sacramento as Cal Trans adds an express lane. The way things are going for the Giants, they ought to submit a plan for their own express lane to the state’s capital.

During a day when they placed one outfielder on the injured list and lost another to a shoulder injury, the Giants once again are turning to their Triple-A affiliate for help – a troubling and ongoing pattern that the team has been stuck in for most of the season.

In many ways, it’s a bittersweet part of the business.

While the injuries have played a significant role in San Francisco’s up-and-down season, they also have opened the door for several of the franchise’s younger players to get called up with a chance at proving their worth.

Take Casey Schmitt for example.

Schmitt was called up from the minors Friday when infielder Nick Ahmed went on the IL with a wrist injury. Schmitt, who has been back and forth between San Francisco and Sacramento over the past year-plus, was mired in an 0-for-11 funk before delivering a game-winning, walk-off double in the 10th inning Sunday.

Schmitt’s double scored pinch-runner Luis Matos, who had been called up from the minors earlier in the day.

That came on the heels of an outstanding day from Heliot Ramos, who got his latest turn in the bigs after slugger Jorge Soler was put on the IL with a shoulder strain.

“We’re going through it right now,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said. “Sometimes it happens in bunches. Seems like that’s the case at this point, but somebody else gets another opportunity.

“We have some guys doing well in Triple-A, and we knew at some point in time these guys would be here. There’s a bunch of ‘em here now.”

Before the game, the Giants put Michael Conforto on the IL with a hamstring injury. Leadoff hitter Jung Hoo Lee is likely to join Conforto after suffering a separated shoulder when he crashed into the center field fence trying to make a catch.

It has become an all-too-familiar sight for the Giants.

In the eight days leading up to Sunday, they lost Soler, Ahmed, catchers Patrick Bailey (concussion) and Tom Murphy (left knee sprain) and outfielder Austin Slater (concussion) to the injury bug.

That forced the Giants' front office to get busy making a rash of transactions with the River Cats in Sacramento.

So far, so good.

“Doesn’t matter who we have out there, we got to fight,” pitcher Kyle Harrison said. “When we have everyone, we got to fight. The mentality stays the same. We’ve got good guys here in the clubhouse, and we’re meshing well now.”

The revolving door with Sacramento isn’t closed yet, either.

Alex Cobb, who was projected to be a part of the starting pitching rotation, still is rehabbing from left hip surgery. Robbie Ray, who signed as a free agent in the offseason to help shore up the rotation, has been out all season after undergoing surgery on his left elbow.

For many teams, that many injuries over the course of a full season would be tough to deal with. The Giants have had to do it all in the first few months of the 2024 campaign.

With all the injuries piling up, San Francisco is trying to hold on until they get some of their injured players back.

“A lot of younger guys are getting opportunities,” Melvin said. “Just one of those times during the season where you got to persevere.”

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