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Bochy hopeful Slater will return by early September


SAN FRANCISCO–There’s no denying the 2017 season has challenged the Giants in a variety of unexpected ways, and one of those is injuries to key prospects.

While San Francisco could be using the months of August and September to audition top prospects like Christian Arroyo, Tyler Beede and Austin Slater, all three players are nursing injuries that are keeping them off the field.

Beede strained his groin while warming up for a late July start with AAA Sacramento, and may not be healthy enough to return this season, while Arroyo fractured his hand after getting hit by a pitch in an early-July contest for the Giants’ AAA-affiliate.

Slater, meanwhile, tore the adductor muscle in his hip in July and was expected to miss eight-to-10 weeks, which put the remainder of his season in jeopardy.

On Friday afternoon, Giants manager Bruce Bochy offered updates on the franchise’s injured prospects, and was most optimistic about Slater, who has resumed baseball activities.

“The one that’s probably making the most progress, or the fastest progress, is Slater,” Bochy said. “This month? I think that’s a long shot, close though. I’d say the early part of September.”

Slater hit .290 in his first 100 Major League at-bats, and was quickly becoming one of the rare feel-good stories the Giants have been searching for in a disastrous season before he sustained his injury. With Slater out, Gorkys Hernandez took over as the team’s starting left fielder and has become one of San Francisco’s most consistent players over the last two months.

Since June 8, Hernandez has raised his batting average 88 points, and compiled the seventh-highest batting average in the National League since that date.

The Giants’ outfield became more crowded on Thursday when the team activated its Opening Day starter in left field, Jarrett Parker, from the disabled list. Parker’s return provided San Francisco’s offense an immediate jolt, as he enjoyed a three-hit night in his first game since April 15.

Even though the Giants now have two players to split time in left field with Parker and Hernandez on the 25-man roster, Slater’s return would be a positive sign for a San Francisco team that’s beginning to audition players for roles in 2018.

As for Arroyo and Beede, Bochy said that Arroyo has yet to resume baseball activities and the Giants are unsure whether Beede will recover from his injury in time to pitch again this season.

 

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