The Giants have placed outfielder Billy Hamilton and left-hander Jarlin Garcia on the injured list, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters Thursday (Twitter link via Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News). Kapler could not specify beyond acknowledging that the moves were for “medical purposes.”
The immediate speculation will gravitate toward COVID-19, though it’s certainly possible that one or even both are dealing with other issues. Teams generally disclose injury details, but broader medical concerns that force players away from the field are often kept vague. It should also be pointed out that even when a player is placed on the COVID-19 IL, that does not necessarily indicate he has tested positive. Players can be placed on the IL after exhibiting symptoms or coming into contact with someone who has tested positive. The exact circumstances surrounding the IL placements of Hamilton and Garcia are unknown, but the hope, as always, is that both can return to the field swiftly and in good health.
Both Hamilton and Garcia are newcomers to the Giants organization. Hamilton, the longtime Reds center fielder, is among baseball’s fastest players and brings a superlative glove to a team that plays in one of the game’s most cavernous stadiums (Oracle Park). He signed a minor league deal with an invite to Major League Spring Training back in the offseason but was widely expected to win a roster spot from the early days of camp.
The 29-year-old Hamilton batted just .218/.289/.275 in 353 plate appearances between the Royals and Braves last year, but he was flat-out excellent in the field, as usual. Despite playing a career-low 826 innings in the field, Hamilton logged eight Defensive Runs Saved, a 7.9 Ultimate Zone Rating and seven Outs Above Average (per Statcast).
Garcia, meanwhile, was claimed off waivers in February. The 27-year-old was somewhat of a surprise DFA by the Marlins, as he’d pitched to a 3.02 ERA in 50 2/3 frames the prior season. Garcia’s peripheral numbers weren’t quite as pretty; he posted a 3.77 FIP and 4.74 xFIP while averaging 6.9 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9. Garcia also benefited from a .248 average on balls in play, although that’s right in line with his career mark to date. Even if there’s some regression in store down the line, he’s controllable for another four seasons, so it’s easy to see why the Giants were happy to take a risk-free flier on the southpaw.