Jung Hoo Lee

Giants place Lee on 10-day IL with left shoulder dislocation

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' centerpiece of a big offseason joined a large group of teammates on the IL.

San Francisco put Jung Hoo Lee on the 10-day IL on Monday, a day after he dislocated his shoulder when he slammed into the center field fence at Oracle Park. Lee will meet with the team’s orthopedist, Dr. Ken Akizuki, on Monday and the Giants will have a better idea of his rehab options and timetable after that, but it is expected to be a lengthy absence. 

Manager Bob Melvin said he spoke with Lee on Sunday, and the outfielder was disappointed. Melvin was hopeful that surgery would be avoided but said he couldn’t offer much more in terms of details. 

“He’s very team-oriented and wants to be out there for his team, and therefore he’s disappointed,” Melvin said. “There’s not much he can do about it. You make an all-out play to catch a ball in the first inning, and if you make that play it’s a huge momentum swing, and now all of a sudden our center fielder is down. 

“We had to recover from that a little bit [Sunday], but I’m sure he’s feeling it right now. He wants to be out there for his team.”

Lee signed a six-year, $113 million contract in December, the largest the franchise has ever given out to a free agent position player. Primarily serving as the leadoff hitter, he has played in 37 of 42 games, batting .262 with a .641 OPS and two homers. He has a wRC+ of 89, putting him 11 points below league-average, but the Giants have viewed the overall numbers as containing some bad luck, as Lee's expected batting average -- based on quality of contact -- is 22 points higher than his actual one. 

The Giants can fill the void at the top of the lineup by moving LaMonte Wade Jr. into that spot when others return, but they'll have a difficult time replacing Lee in center field. Advanced metrics have rated him as roughly league-average, but he gets good jumps and the staff is confident he'll be a plus defender in center once he is more accustomed to MLB ballparks and elements. 

Tyler Fitzgerald took over in center field once Lee got hurt Sunday, but Luis Matos was in the lineup Monday and Melvin said Matos would “get a good shot out there” for now. Mike Yastrzemski also can slide over as needed.

The Giants have lost three outfielders -- Austin Slater, Michael Conforto and Lee -- over the past three games, although they have plenty of outfield options remaining. Heliot Ramos will take on an everyday role. Blake Sabol, Brett Wisely and Wade also can play the outfield, although the preference is to leave Wade at first. 

No matter how they slice it, though, Lee's absence will be felt. The Giants were drawn to him in part because they believed strongly in his ability to play center, which would move others to the corners, but they no longer have that advantage. 

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