Thairo Estrada

Kapler admits Giants feel Estrada's absence during skid

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler didn't even have to hear the full question before he started answering it affirmatively. Have the last couple of weeks shown how important Thairo Estrada is to this team?

"Yes. Yes," Kapler said. "Maybe you take a player like Thairo for granted sometimes. We all know how good of a baseball player he is. He's very well-rounded, he steals bases, runs the bases well, always comes to play. He's swung the bat really well for us the last couple of years. From strictly Wins Above Replacement, he's as good as anybody we've had the last couple of years. 

"You see the evidence of that right now. He really makes an impact for our club."

The Giants right now could desperately use the spark Estrada brings, and they received good news on that front when they returned home after scoring just nine runs over the final six games of their road trip. Estrada swung a fungo bat on Monday and took some regular swings in the cage on Tuesday. He also took ground balls, and he appears poised to start moving quickly in his rehab from a fractured left hand. 

"This is going to start to move quicker, which is obviously good news for any number of reasons," Kapler said. 

Estrada hasn't played since getting hit by a pitch on July 2, but he still ranks second among the team's position players in WAR, per Baseball Reference. When healthy and swinging well, Estrada is the closest thing the lineup has to a true everyday player, and he now seems likely to return at some point in early August. 

Other Giants notes:

-- Estrada wasn't the only one to make notable progress on Tuesday. Outfielder Luis González has missed the whole season after having back surgery, but he'll join Triple-A Sacramento to continue a rehab assignment. González is scheduled to play seven innings on Tuesday night. 

"The fact that he's in Triple-A already and starting to build is really good news for our depth, and obviously for Luis, who has worked really, really hard to get back to this point," Kapler said. 

-- Mitch Haniger still is expected to be out until September, but he could start ramping up later this week. Haniger likely will fly to Los Angeles on Wednesday to get another X-ray on his surgically-repaired right forearm. If it comes back clean, Haniger will start doing baseball activities when he returns. 

-- The Giants announced that they have signed every member of their draft class, a rarity, along with four undrafted free agents. First-round pick Bryce Eldgridge will be at Oracle Park on Wednesday and will take batting practice with the big league team before starting his journey through the minor leagues. 

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