October 2, 2022

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'This one hurts': Duggar joins SF's injured ranks

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NEW YORK — The banged-up Giants took another hit on Thursday afternoon, with center fielder Steven Duggar departing with a left oblique injury in the second inning of the club’s 6-2 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.

Duggar appeared to wince and grab at his left side after taking a swing in his first at-bat of the game against New York right-hander Carlos Carrasco. He subsequently walked off the field with head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Gabe Kapler. Duggar was replaced by Mauricio Dubón, who inherited a 1-2 count and struck out on the next pitch following a missed bunt attempt.

The Giants didn’t have an immediate timetable for Duggar, but Kapler said the injury was significant enough to warrant a stint on the injured list. Duggar said he initially felt discomfort in his side following his final at-bat against Max Scherzer on Tuesday night, when he took a changeup for a called third strike in the seventh inning. Duggar received treatment in between games and felt fine heading into Thursday, but he ended up aggravating the issue while facing Carrasco.

“The first swing off Carrasco, I felt it kind of lock up on me pretty good,” Duggar said. “It’s something a little firmer than usual. The second swing was just pretty much unbearable. That’s when I kind of knew I had done something.”

Duggar, 28, is batting .194 with a .509 OPS and four stolen bases — tied for second in the Majors entering Thursday — over 12 games this year, and he had emerged as the club’s starting center fielder against right-handed pitching. His departure only adds to the injury woes for the Giants, who already have three other position players sidelined in third baseman Evan Longoria, second baseman Tommy La Stella and outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. San Francisco also lost veteran starter Alex Cobb to a right adductor strain on Tuesday.

“It’s really frustrating,” Duggar said. “Obviously, some of the results haven’t been there early on, but I really feel like I’ve hit the ball pretty hard, just right at people. The strikeouts are a little high, but outside of that, I feel like I’ve conducted some good ABs. I think being on the bases and running around, I was off to a pretty good start. Obviously, having a runway here, running out there every day, I was feeling really comfortable and confident. This one hurts.”

The Giants will be hard-pressed to replace Duggar’s elite speed and defense, but Austin Slater and Dubón could step in to help fill the void in center field. Wade, a fellow left-handed hitter who is working his way back from a left knee injury, is on track to begin a rehab assignment soon, but Kapler said Wade won’t be a candidate to be activated until the Giants return to San Francisco early next week. 

The only other healthy outfielder on the 40-man roster who is not presently with the Giants is prospect Heliot Ramos, though utility man Luke Williams, who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento earlier this week, has some outfield experience as well. 

“We’d like to have an additional left-handed bat in the lineup, but we have options,” Kapler said. “We’re not without resources. We’ll find our way there, to get the right bats in the lineup.”   

Duggar’s early exit further dampened a disappointing day for the Giants, who lost three out of four games against the Mets en route to dropping their first series of the year. Right-hander Anthony DeSclafani gave up five runs on nine hits over five innings, causing his ERA to spike to 6.08 through his first three starts of the year.

DeSclafani surrendered two home runs — a first-inning shot to Francisco Lindor and a second-inning blast to Eduardo Escobar — marking the first long balls allowed by Giants pitchers since April 11. San Francisco’s hurlers faced 308 batters without yielding a homer before Lindor snapped the longest active streak in the Majors by taking DeSclafani deep out to right field with one out in the first.

“I definitely didn’t feel crisp today at all,” DeSclafani said. “I feel like I’m kind of coming off the ball kind of early, not staying back, and the stuff is kind of left up in the zone.”

The Giants’ bats couldn’t pick up DeSclafani, stringing together only four hits against Carrasco, who allowed an RBI single to Thairo Estrada and a solo shot to Mike Yastrzemski over 7 2/3 innings. The homer was the first of the year for Yastrzemski, who went 2-for-4 to lift his batting average to .231 following a slow start to the season. 

“We know that the true talent and the true caliber of play is going to come out over a long period of time, but we have to weather those time periods when they’re not going so well,” Kapler said. “It’s nice to see the results show up for Yaz. Similar to the way we’re thinking about Tony. We know that there’s great performances coming and we have to weather the storm and help these guys get to their best versions as quickly as possible.”

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