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Stuart Fairchild starting in center field as Austin Slater joins expanding injured list

© Lindsey Wasson | 2022 May 7

Some teams consider in-season acquisitions as an extension of the offseason, but the Giants and Mariners have made May look like the winter meetings.

Jerry Dipoto and Farhan Zaidi’s congenial relationship led to four trades in a three-week span between the clubs, including the most recent one that sent outfielder Stuart Fairchild to San Francisco. Fairchild, a 26-year-old outfielder, will start Monday’s series opener against the Mets.

Fairchild is getting the nod as Austin Slater heads to the 10-day injured list with left wrist inflammation. Slater felt discomfort after swinging at a 3-1 changeup Sunday, manager Gabe Kapler said, and wasn’t confident enough in his wrist after testing it in the batting cage pregame.

“We had enough trepidation there where it makes some sense to let it calm down a little bit,” Kapler said of Slater’s wrist. “So let it calm down and see where we are in a couple of days.”

Slater joins Curt Casali (concussion), Brandon Belt (knee) and LaMonte Wade Jr. (knee) as Giants placed on the injured list in the previous week. Anthony DeSclafani, Steven Duggar, Jake McGee are also currently sidelined.

“It’s a challenge, but we’re kind of past it,” Kapler said of the pile-up of injuries. “In our minds, nobody cares. What we care about is putting together the best lineup with the group that we have, trying to win today’s baseball game. Not going to spend much time thinking about what happened yesterday. We’re ready to move forward.”

Kapler said he’s excited to see what Fairchild can do in the outfield. The right-handed hitter from Seattle has a good reputation defensively and plus speed on the base paths, the manager added.

Fairchild was drafted in the second round of the 2017 amateur draft and debuted for the Diamondbacks last year. He played 12 games for Arizona and three more this season for the Mariners. In 15 career MLB games, he’s gone 2-for-18 with a double, five strikeouts and a walk.

Since Fairchild has played most of his Triple-A ball in the Mariners and Diamondbacks organizations, he’s spent lots of time in the Pacific Coast League — playing against the Sacramento River Cats. There’s familiarity with him playing against San Francisco’s affiliate.

The biggest factor with recalling Farchild is need at the big-league level. Without Slater, the Giants’ only right-handed outfielder is Darin Ruf.

Another righty outfielder SF considered was Heliot Ramos, who made his MLB debut earlier this season. Ramos, though, is hitting .191 for the River Cats. Kapler said he’d like to see the exciting prospect perform to his ability.

It’s not uncommon for a young player to get a taste of The Show, and then play with a tad less “adrenaline” when they’re back down in the minors, Kapler said. There likely won’t be any shortage of adrenaline in San Francisco’s starting center fielder.

  • Kapler doesn’t anticipate Curt Casali to spend more than the required time on the concussion-IL. Since the catcher hit the IL on May 21, he should be eligible to return May 28 in Cincinnati.
  • Kevin Padlo is starting at first base. With southpaw David Peterson on the mound for the Mets, San Francisco is squeezing every possible righty into the order. Wilmer Flores, who made an error behind the first base bag on Sunday, will DH.
  • A Giants loss Monday would bring their skid to five consecutive defeats — something they didn’t do a single time in 2021. It would be the 2022 club’s second five-game skid already, with each coming in May.

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