TODAY: Samardzija’s MRI revealed only a strained pectoral muscle, Andrew Baggarly writes in an updated piece. The right-hander will be rested for 10 days, according to Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, so a DL stint still looks imminent.
YESTERDAY: The Giants are concerned that right-hander Jeff Samardzija may have a shoulder injury according to reports. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle was among the first to tweet the news. There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the situation, but “Shark” had an MRI today and is undergoing further examination on his throwing shoulder. Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic tweets that it’s “pretty clear he will begin the season on the DL.”
We’re still awaiting further news on the subject (including the actual results of the MRI itself), but the absence of Samardzija for any significant portion of the season would prove a huge blow to a Giants club that was expected to contend this season following an offseason overhaul of a roster that lost 98 games in 2017. Baggarly tweets that left-handed non-roster invite Derek Holland is an option to replace him in the rotation. Baggarly also adds that the team is unlikely to pursue any free agents at this point, as Bruce Bochy says the team is looking at internal options.
That would leave just Holland, Ty Blach and Chris Stratton as the club’s feasible options behind mainstays Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto. It’s also worth noting that the club has Tyler Beede (ranked the organization’s fourth-best prospect) set to begin the season at Triple-A. If the club were to explore free agents, they’d be parsing through a thin crop of remaining starters that includes Scott Feldman and Ubaldo Jimenez among the top remaining options.
The Giants were likely expecting another workhorse performance from the 33-year-old Samardzija, who’s one of just two pitchers in all of major league baseball to have thrown at least 200 innings in each of the past five seasons (the other being Max Scherzer). During that span, he’s put up a 4.10 ERA, and his 3.68 xFIP actually indicates that he’s pitched quite a bit better than that. He’s also struck out 8.09 batters per nine innings while limiting walks to just 2.18 per nine.