The Giants received further poor luck on the injury front last night, as X-rays revealed a fracture in left fielder Nori Aoki’s right fibula, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. An exact timeline for Aoki’s return is not yet clear, but he’ll head to the 15-day disabled list and be in a cast for two weeks before being re-evaluated.
Aoki’s injury actually occurred on Saturday night in Los Angeles when Aoki was hit by a pitch from Dodgers righty Carlos Frias, but initial tests didn’t reveal the fracture. Aoki had been in the lineup as of Tuesday afternoon, having tested the leg by running some sprints, but the pain in his leg worsened after that and he was sent in for new X-rays, Schulman writes.
The loss of Aoki is a difficult one for the Giants, as the 33-year-old has been outstanding. The one-year, $4.7MM contract (plus a club option) that Aoki signed this winter looks to be one of the best free agent pickups in all of baseball, as he’s hitting .317/.383/.385 with a pair of homers, 12 steals and strong left field defense.
Between Aoki’s injury and the fact that Hunter Pence is on the disabled list for a second time this season, this time due to tendinitis in his left wrist, the Giants are without their starting corner outfielders and two of their more productive all-around hitters. Justin Maxwell and Gregor Blanco could now be pressed into everyday corner outfield duty in San Francisco, although Schulman discusses a number of scenarios to replace Aoki’s bat. One interesting possibility would be deploying Brandon Belt in left field, with Buster Posey shifting to first base and Andrew Susac handling everyday catching duties. As far as replacing Aoki on the 25-man roster, Triple-A outfielder Jarrett Parker, who made his big league debut earlier this season, is an option, Schulman writes. Double-A outfielder Mac Williamson is a longer shot, he adds.