Brandon Crawford played in 23 of 26 games in April, which is a lot of innings and probably pressing him more than the Giants would like.
But it has not been a healthy month for the important shortstop.
First it was a rib cage issue, then quad tightness and now a calf contusion, Gabe Kapler announced Friday night, after Crawford was drilled by a 96-mph Yu Darvish fastball.
One injury has followed another, and while none has seemingly been too serious, it is concerning nonetheless for a player whose health is critical, a player whose infield defense settles the team.
In the fifth inning at Petco Park, Darvish hit Crawford’s left calf squarely, and he hobbled to first, where trainer Dave Groeschner and Gabe Kapler checked on him for a few minutes. Crawford did a few sprints and stayed on, though he only made it third on a Steven Duggar double. In the sixth, Mauricio Dubon replaced him.
Kapler said they would evaluate Crawford on Saturday morning, so he’s day-to-day. The Giants trading for outfielder Mike Tauchman has (strangely) helped their shortstop depth, with Dubon more free to get reps at the spot. They would far prefer having Crawford in against righties though; the 26-year-old Dubon has yet to prove he can consistently hit righties and is 7-for-29 (.241) against right-handers this year.
Tommy La Stella had a tough game defensively in the 3-2 loss to the Padres.
The play that hurt arrived in the first, when speedy Trent Grisham was on second with two outs and Eric Hosmer hit a slow grounder to second. La Stella, playing deep in the shift, charged and tried to barehand, but did not field it cleanly. The ball got away, and Grisham scored from second on an infield single.
Kapler defender his second baseman, who’s seeing more time at the position because of the injury to Donovan Solano.
“I think he did everything he possibly could do in that situation,” the manager said over Zoom. “He’s playing quite deep, and we do that for a reason — we’re looking for as much range as possible. … There are several guys on this team who hit the ball really hard on the ground, so trying to get as much range as possible.
“I think he attacked the baseball the best he could. Then when he wasn’t able to field it cleanly, he tried to pick it up as quickly as he could and at that point, there was no play.”
Did Kapler think Darin Ruf‘s grand slam — er, foul ball — was fair?
“It looked like it had a chance to stay fair. Knew it was well-struck, and it was kind of right on the line but it was staying pretty straight, which is a sign of a really good swing,” Kapler said. “Stayed inside and through that baseball, didn’t slice it or anything like that. Just didn’t stay quite straight enough.”
Logan Webb, who pitched better than his six-innings, three-runs line, said this was the best he has felt all season.
He did not lean too heavily on his changeup — using it 33 of his 93 pitches, including first-inning swinging strikeouts to Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado — and had a good two-seamer working. He is making significant strides and said he’s getting into a “groove,” but what has held him back are a few pitches, often ahead in counts.
He got ahead 0-2 to Jurickson Profar with two on and two outs in the sixth, and left a fastball over the plate. Profar singled it to center to score two runs.
“We wanted to go kind of in and up and just didn’t get it there,” Webb said.
Buster Posey ended his April with his sixth home run in 17 games. He hit seven in 114 games in 2019; five in 105 games in 2018. He is batting .361 entering May.
“I feel good,” the 34-year-old said, after sitting out the 2020 season to care for his family (including adopted newborns) during the pandemic. “I think it’s a combination of a lot of different things. I think it’s some of my preparation before the game, it’s working with the hitting guys, it’s … being a little bit further away from the hip surgery.”