It’s been nearly two weeks since Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland pelted Nationals’ star Bryce Harper with a 98-mile per hour that led to a brawl between the two sides.
Though Strickland will have his appeal hearing on Tuesday, there’s another Giants’ player who doesn’t have closure from the May 31 showdown.
First baseman Michael Morse remains on the seven-day concussion list, and on Saturday, Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said Morse has yet to resume baseball activities.
Morse sustained a concussion colliding with San Francisco starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who raced onto the field to come to the defense of his teammate. Aside from the head injury, Morse also bruised his ribs, and Bochy said he’s still feeling the lingering effects.
“Michael, he’s still taking it easy, rest is the best thing for him right now,” Bochy said Saturday. “Not just for his concussion but also his ribs. He got pretty beat up in that collision and so he’s still recovering. We don’t have him doing any baseball activities yet. Did do some cardio yesterday, he said he can feel it still after doing the cardio.”
Morse isn’t the only Giants’ player banged up right now, as second baseman Joe Panik will be held out of the lineup for the second straight day with a sprained thumb.
On Saturday, Bochy said Panik is available in an emergency situation to come off the bench, but said it’s likely that he’ll take Sunday’s game off as well before returning to the lineup on Tuesday when the Giants host the Kansas City Royals.
“It’s still a little sore so he’ll probably be off tomorrow too,” Bochy said. “He is available to come off the bench, but we need to see it calm down so I think we’re looking at him starting Tuesday.”
A day after Twins’ starter Ervin Santana tossed his third complete game shutout of the season in Minnesota’s 4-0 victory, the Giants are up against Jose Berrios, a Puerto Rican right-hander making his 20th career start.
Santana was brilliant on Friday evening, as he threw 26 first pitch strikes to the 31 Giants’ hitters he tangled with. Second baseman Aaron Hill was the only San Francisco hitter to truly tag a ball off Santana, as a Hill triple was the lone extra base hit of the evening for the Giants.
Bochy said Berrios, who has a 4-1 record and a 2.76 earned run average entering Saturday’s contest, is a major reason why the Twins have jumped out to a hot start and hold a 1.5-game lead in the American League Central.
“He’s (Berrios) just got really good stuff, hitting 95, gets good run and sink on the fastball,” Bochy said. “He’s got a slurve that he commands well, he’s got a good downward break to it and he’s got the changeup too. He uses that more against the left-handed batters but it gets on you that fastball, it’s got a lot of life to it. I don’t think he’s given up more than six hits in any outing so between Santana and this guy, we’ve seen two of the reasons why they’re in first place.”
The Giants will counter Berrios with Jeff Samardzija, who’s been the team’s most consistent pitcher of late. Samardzija handcuffed the Milwaukee Brewers in his last outing on Monday, a 7-2 Giants’ win in which the right-hander struck out 10 and didn’t allow a walk.
Over his last seven starts, Samardzija has recorded 59 strikeouts and allowed just one walk, become the first Major League pitcher since 1900 to record at least 50 punchouts without issuing more than one walk in a span of seven starts.