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Thairo Estrada placed on COVID IL, Donovan Walton to make third straight start at SS

© Stan Szeto | 2022 Jun 28

Thairo Estrada hasn’t tested positive for COVID-19 but he is going on the Injured List for the virus, Giants manager Gabe Kapler said on Sunday. The Giants will try to avoid a three-game sweep to the White Sox without their middle infielder.

Estrada, who is second on the team in games played and plate appearances, has missed the previous two games with cold-like symptoms. He’s had a headache and sore throat for over 24 hours, Kapler said.

“This is what we thought made the most sense to protect both Thairo and the rest of our team,” Kapler said.

There’s no required minimum for players on the COVID-IL. It can be used this season for players who have tested positive, are symptomatic or are confirmed close contacts.

Before Kapler’s announcement, Estrada was seen in the Giants’ clubhouse without a mask. Earlier this year, the Giants closed down their clubhouse to non-essential personnel when a COVID outbreak affected several players and staffers.

“That’s something that we’re learning as quickly as we can,” Kapler said. “Moved him through the clubhouse as quickly as possible.”

As of Sunday, no other players are experiencing symptoms, Kapler said. Estrada is hitting .256 on the year while pacing SF in hits, runs and stolen bases.

In Estrada’s place, Donovan Walton will get his third straight start at shortstop and hit eighth. The former Mariner is hitting .174 in 22 games for San Francisco this season, but has flashed strong instincts in the field. In this White Sox series, Walton is 2-for-7 with a double at the plate. Wilmer Flores will slide in at second base.

Players on the COVID IL are removed from the active 26-man roster. The Giants recalled Yermín Mercedes to backfill Estrada’s spot. Mercedes could see action against the White Sox, his former team, since starter Lucas Giolito has notable reverse splits.

  • Kapler said the Giants haven’t played with ample “energy” in the past couple weeks. He added that channeling energy in positive ways like picking up a teammate is more valuable than, for example, focusing on a blown call or the suboptimal field positions. San Francisco has lost seven of its past nine games.

    “I don’t think we’ve brought our best levels of energy to the ballpark over the course of the past couple of weeks,” Kapler said. “When that happens, I think it’s important to examine where we are spending our energy.”
  • Luis González (back) is continuing his hitting progression at Oracle Park on Sunday. Once ready for full-time activity, he’ll require a rehab assignment.
  • Brandon Crawford is on schedule to return from the injured list when he becomes eligible next Tuesday in Arizona.

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