Thairo Estrada

Estrada expected to make Giants return later this week

NBC Universal, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The biggest addition the Giants make this week likely won't come from the outside

Thairo Estrada took on-field batting practice on Monday and will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday with Triple-A Sacramento. It's not expected to be a lengthy one, and the Giants should have their starting second baseman back in the lineup later this week.

"We'll start with five innings on defense and a few at-bats (in Triple-A), and then the next day we'll have Thairo (be the) DH, and then we'll reevaluate from there," manager Gabe Kapler said on Monday afternoon. "It could be that we give him one more day after that, we could give him a couple more games. It depends on how his body feels and how he's performing."

Estrada has been out since July 2, when he suffered a left-hand fracture on a hit-by-pitch. Even with a month on the sidelines, he leads the Giants in FanGraphs' version of Wins Above Replacement. Estrada's fill-ins rank last in fWAR in July and have hit .096 as a group. 

The Giants have mostly relied on rookies Casey Schmitt and Brett Wisely over the last month, but they added utility infielder Mark Mathias in Monday's A.J. Pollock trade and optioned him to Triple-A. Mathias had a .624 OPS with the Pirates earlier this season and has had a 100 OPS+ -- putting him exactly at league-average -- as a big leaguer. He has experience with the Brewers, Rangers and Pirates. 

"One of the things that has concerned us about our lineup is just, we're not getting the kind of quality at-bats that we're getting from the top two-thirds of the order at the bottom of the order," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said. "He's a guy who has got really good plate discipline, has exhibited that even at the big league level, and he can play a bunch of different positions so he kind of fits how Kap likes to manage the roster and use everybody.

"I think the main thing is we like the at-bat quality with him and that's a little bit of a different look than we've had over the last month, couple months."

--- The Giants had one open 40-man spot after DFA'ing Mauricio Llovera last week and cleared a second one by putting reliever/opener John Brebbia on the 60-day IL. Brebbia has not pitched since June 16 because of a right lat strain, although he is making progress in his rehab. Brebbia now won't be eligible to return to the active roster until the middle of August, but the move won't impact his timeline at all. 

--- Anthony DeSclafani will visit Dr. Keith Meister to get a second opinion on his strained right elbow flexor. An MRI over the weekend showed that the right-hander has a Grade 1 strain, which he said didn't come as a surprise. 

"I've been grinding through it for a little while," he said. 

DeSclafani said he "absolutely" hopes to be back in some capacity this season, although that will be up to doctors. Right now, all the Giants know is that he won't pick up a ball for several weeks. 

--- It was Kapler's 48th birthday on Monday, and he said he just hoped for a "calm one." That wasn't the case two decades ago. 

The trade deadline has usually been July 31, and on his 2002 birthday, Kapler was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Colorado Rockies. That would seem to be a gift for a hitter, but Kapler said he didn't take advantage of Coors Field as much as he should have. 

Kapler hit .311 the rest of that season with a couple of homers, but he had just a .560 OPS through the first couple of months of the 2003 season and was released. It all worked out well for Kapler, who signed with the Boston Red Sox and won a ring the next season. 

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast

Contact Us