The Giants’ Justin Smoak era lasted six at-bats, in which the slugging first baseman did not have a hit before being designated for assignment before the Giants began their season-ending homestand Monday.
The Giants reinstated Alex Dickerson from the paternity list and batted him leadoff for the game against the Rockies. Smoak had replaced Pablo Sandoval as a pinch-hit option who could hit righty pitching, but the Giants could not afford that luxury while they carry two outfielders (Mike Yastrzemski, Austin Slater) who can’t play the outfield right now.
Their outfield defense has been a sore spot, Dickerson’s return returning Darin Ruf to DH while Luis Basabe will get his second career start and play right field. The Giants did not envision Basabe, who’s still raw, rising this quickly, but the injuries (including to Joey Rickard) and early ineffectiveness from others has made their outfield depth practically nonexistent.
“When considering Daniel Robertson by way of example,” Gabe Kapler said over Zoom before they faced off against the Rockies, “he can play several infield positions as well as the outfield. We viewed Smoak as a DH-only candidate, pinch-hit opportunities for us.”
It is unlikely Slater (flexor strain in elbow) can play the field again this season. Kapler said Yastrzemski wouldn’t be an option at least for the “upcoming few days,” a mild calf strain keeping the team’s MVP out of the lineup and field. He has been progressing but not yet running, the manager said, but the Giants have been holding out hope for a quick recovery and have not placed him on the injured list.
Here’s the Giants’ lineup for the first of eight games that will determine whether they reach the playoffs, Johnny Cueto against German Marquez:
1. Alex Dickerson, LF
2. Brandon Belt, 1B
3. Donovan Solano, 2B
4. Darin Ruf, DH
5. Brandon Crawford, SS
6. Evan Longoria, 3B
7. Mauricio Dubon, CF
8. Chadwick Tromp, C
9. Luis Basabe, RF