The Giants may have to open the season without their starting corner infielders, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group explains. First baseman Brandon Belt is dealing with a right heel problem, and third baseman Evan Longoria has a moderate oblique strain.
Manager Gabe Kapler said Belt took groundballs and ran Thursday, but he gave no timeline for when Belt or Longoria could make their season debuts. Pablo Sandoval and Wilmer Flores, who each have first and third base experience, seem like logical fill-in candidates if the Giants are shorthanded at one or both positions. Right now, it does seem as though the Giants will be without a good portion of their most established veterans on Opening Day. Before Belt and Longoria were in jeopardy, they lost Buster Posey for the entire season when he decided to opt out a week ago.
In better news for the club, outfielder Billy Hamilton and righty Luis Madero were cleared Thursday to participate, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic relayed (Twitter links). Hamilton landed on the injured list for an undisclosed medical reason July 9, while Madero tested positive for COVID-19 on July 3. Between the two, only Hamilton had a chance at a season-opening roster spot, but because of the time he missed, Kapler no longer sees that as a realistic possibility.
Outfield prospect Hunter Bishop was another of the Giants’ recent positive COVID tests, but he’s also coming along. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that Bishop “feels great” and hasn’t dealt with any symptoms of late. But Bishop hasn’t rejoined the team because, as Schulman writes, he has had “trouble navigating the testing process in Arizona to get the negative tests he needs to be activated.”