The Giants are down one lefty reliever and one lefty bat at shortstop, although the latter will be shorter term.
Jose Alvarez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a “mild” sprained ankle, Gabe Kapler said Thursday, and outfielder/first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. was recalled and activated off the IL as the corresponding move.
Brandon Crawford, meanwhile, was experiencing side effects from a vaccine shot that he received before the Giants’ flight to Pittsburgh. Mauricio Dubon was getting a rare start against a righty, the Pirates’ Wil Crowe, to begin the four-game set at PNC Park.
Alvarez rolled his ankle after Tuesday’s game in the weight room, Kapler said. The IL stint is backdated to May 10, and he does not figure to be out for long.
The 32-year-old has been solid out the bullpen this year apart from his first outing (in which he walked three without recording an out) and his last one (in which he was charged with four runs, two earned, in an inning on Sunday against San Diego). The second outing bloated an ERA that now stands at 4.35.
If the Giants have depth, it’s in lefty relief. Sam Selman might have been optioned otherwise, but he remains on a team with Jake McGee, Jarlin Garcia and Caleb Baragar.
Recalling Wade, who is predominantly an outfielder, is a curious move for a club that now has seven, if Dubon and Darin Ruf are included. Crawford likely will not be out long; he is not the first Giant to miss time after receiving his shot, but Evan Longoria returned to action the next day, and players such as Jake McGee were not out long.
For Thursday’s game without Crawford and with Dubon starting at short, the Giants do not have a bench option who can play second baseman, shortstop or third baseman. The closest might be Austin Slater, who will remain strictly an outfielder, Kapler recently reiterated.
The Giants do not have a taxi squad because the Triple-A season is now underway, and the River Cats are in Oklahoma City for the next week. It’s possible Thairo Estrada, who is on the 40-man roster, could be summoned in the coming days.
For now, Wade is the pick and getting a start over Steven Duggar, who is getting an extended run at the big-league level.
“We’re going to give Wade a chance to play tonight’s game and see how he looks,” Kapler said over Zoom. “He was swinging the bat very well when he went on the IL, and we want to give him an opportunity to show us what he can do. We’ll have Duggar available off the bench.”