The Giants announced that they’ve placed Buster Posey on the 7-day disabled list and selected the contract of veteran backstop Tim Federowicz. To clear a spot for Federowicz on the 40-man roster, the team has designated right-hander Clayton Blackburn for assignment. Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area first reported that Posey would be placed on the DL and that Federowicz is on his way to the Majors.
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Posey was hit in the head by a 94 mph fastball from D-backs right-hander Taijuan Walker yesterday, and though Pavlovic notes that he’s said to be feeling good, the team wants to proceed with caution in a potential concussion scenario. As Pavlovic notes, the Giants have been burned in recent years by rushing both Brandon Belt and Joe Panik back from concussions, and it only stands to reason that they’d want to not only avoid repeating those mistakes but proceed with extreme caution regarding their top position player.
Federowicz, 29, is a veteran of five Major League seasons, although he’s never been much of a source of offense in the big leagues. He’s a .194/.243/.295 hitter in 304 plate appearances with the Dodgers and Cubs, but he does come with a strong Triple-A track record (to say nothing of his solid performance in Spring Training). In 304 Triple-A games over the course of his career, Federowicz is a .304/.375/.511 hitter, and he also slashed an impressive .323/.417/.625 in 21 games with the Giants this spring. Federowicz is out of minor league options, so he’ll likely be exposed to waivers once again once Posey is healthy enough to return. In the meantime, Nick Hundley figures to step up and catch on a regular basis.
Blackburn, 24, rated as the Giants’ No. 5 prospect (per Baseball America) as recently as the 2014-15 offseason and rated among the team’s Top 10 prospects from 2012 through 2016. BA praised Blackburn for his pitchability and control, noting that he’s able to generate good sink on his low-90s heater. Blackburn, though, had a rough 2016 season in Triple-A, pitching to a 4.36 ERA with 6.7 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent ground-ball rate. He was tagged for five runs on six hits and a walk with one strikeout across three innings in his first Triple-A start of the 2017 season. Given his proximity to the Majors, his control and his fairly recent prospect status, he seems like a reasonable candidate to command trade interest or be claimed on waivers by a pitching-needy organization with strong waiver priority.