There has not been a ton of positive news surrounding the Giants’ health, but a few steps were taken Friday and there might be more good news this weekend.
Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are both in the starting lineup for the game in Pittsburgh, the former having been scratched from Thursday’s lineup with left side tightness, the latter never having been in Thursday’s lineup while experiencing side effects from a coronavirus vaccine shot.
Kapler said Crawford is “100 percent” after receiving the dosage before the team flight to Pittsburgh. When the manager conducted his pregame media session, he did not yet have a lineup because he wanted to see how Belt came through warmups, but the first baseman apparently was feeling well enough to bat cleanup.
It’s possible Alex Dickerson could join the lineup Sunday, when Kapler said the outfielder could be activated — the earliest the slugger can return from the 10-day injured list while dealing with a right shoulder impingement.
“He looked great yesterday in batting practice. His body’s recovering well,” Kapler said from PNC Park. “I don’t have any indication that he’s not going to be ready Sunday or shortly after.”
The Giants are chock-full of outfielders, seven on the 26-man roster. Apart from Mauricio Dubon, who’s a center fielder, too, they don’t have a bench option who can play second, third or shortstop. LaMonte Wade Jr. and Darin Ruf are on the roster with first base capabilities. Both Steven Duggar, who was starting Friday, and Wade have played well, but one likely will have to be optioned.
And Donovan Solano, who should start a rehab assignment this weekend, should be back soon, too.
The Giants’ depth has passed significant tests and kept the team afloat at a time when it could have sunk. That leads to some difficult decisions when the Giants actually have enough healthy bodies for roster spots.
They have not had enough infield bodies to spell players like Wilmer Flores and Evan Longoria, who could use days off, especially against tough righties.
While Flores has yet to get going against anyone this year, with a .578 OPS, Kapler expressed optimism he will turn it around and pointed to his track record. Longoria has cooled off from his hot start and is batting just .194 against righties.
“It’s very rare that a team will have everybody healthy all at the same time,” Kapler said. “But I do look forward to being able to get guys those blows when we have a more robust bench.”
The Giants’ lineup against righty Miguel Yajure:
1. Mike Tauchman, LF
2. Mike Yastrzemski, RF
3. Buster Posey, C
4. Brandon Belt, 1B
5. Evan Longoria, 3B
6. Brandon Crawford, SS
7. Wilmer Flores, 2B
8. Steven Duggar, CF
9. Kevin Gausman, P