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Matos, Villar joining Giants after Haniger, Davis injuries

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Whether a player's family is taking a flight up the coast from San Diego, as Casey Schmitt's did, or driving a few hours along highways in the Midwest, as Keaton Winn's did, the Giants pride themselves on getting parents, siblings, wives and more to the ballpark for every MLB debut. During a meeting last week, some members of the organization realized it might be difficult with the next big promotion.

The Giants started quickly working on getting travel visas for Luis Matos' parents, who live in Bobures, a small town alongside Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. It had become clear that Matos, despite being just 21 and having very little experience in the upper minors, would be in the big leagues soon.

On Wednesday, that dream will come true.

After injuries to Mitch Haniger and J.D. Davis, the Giants are flying Matos and infielder David Villar to St. Louis for their final game against the Cardinals. They have not made any roster moves yet, but Matos is likely to take Haniger's roster spot.

"Matos and Villar are both on their way," Kapler told reporters after the game. "I expect that one of them will be active and possibly both of them."

The promotion is bittersweet given how it happened, but the Giants weren't going to be able to keep Matos down much longer. He homered for the sixth time in six games before being removed from the River Cats' game in Midland, Texas on Tuesday night, raising his Triple-A average to .398 and his OPS above 1.100.

Matos played in 24 Triple-A games and had multiple hits in 14 of them. He has been hot all season, earning an early promotion by batting .304 in a month in Double-A and showing tremendous plate discipline, but Matos took it to another level last week. Over a five-game stretch, he went 11-for-23 with five homers, seven runs and nine RBI.

Most importantly, Matos continued to show command of the strike zone despite being nearly six years younger than the average player in his league. Matos has more walks (24) than strikeouts (20) this season, showing year-over-year improvement in plate discipline rates that Giants officials haven't seen in a young prospect.

Asked during an interview last week with NBC Sports Bay Area if he was ready for the next step, Matos said he felt prepared.

"It's been my childhood dream," he told Carlos Ramirez. "It's every baseball player's dream, and it would be the best moment of my career."

Matos is likely to get an extended runway given the nature of Haniger's injury and the makeup of the outfield. He is a natural center fielder who makes up for a lack of elite foot speed by getting tremendous jumps, but the Giants have worked him in the corners in recent weeks, knowing the opening could come in any of three spots.

"I love playing center field. I think it's where I'm at my best, but I can also play both corner outfield spots," he said. "Wherever there's an opening, I can play. I just want to play ball."

Matos has crushed lefties this season but has done well against righties, too, and team officials who have seen Sacramento recently say the quality of his at-bats is strong enough that he shouldn't have to enter the big leagues in a platoon. The Giants have leaned heavily on the matchups in recent years, but when Casey Schmitt and Patrick Bailey made their debuts, the initial playing time was consistent no matter who was on the mound.

Matos watched both thrive and pushed hard to join them, and he now will give the Giants their youngest position player group in years. As the talk of a promotion picked up in recent weeks, Matos heard it, but he stayed focused on life in Triple-A.

"It motivates me. I see it as motivation, but I also try to not focus on it too much," he said of the expectations. "I just focus on the task at hand and the things I must do daily. I just keep giving my best so that I can see good results. The team will decide, and I'll just keep working hard. God's timing is always perfect, and I just continue to work."

That work will now continue as one of the youngest players in the big leagues.

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