The Giants have placed right-handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija on the 10-day injured list due to a shoulder impingement, according to Kerry Crowley of the Mercury News. He’s set to undergo an MRI today. Meanwhile, left-hander Andrew Suarez has been recalled to replace Samardzija on the active roster.
A blister on his right hand has prevented Samardzija from utilizing his splitter, which is crucial to Samardzija’s repertoire as his go-to two-strike pitch. That has contributed to the 35-year-old’s unsightly 9.88 ERA through three starts. He’s struck out just 5 batters in 13 2/3 innings, and no National League pitcher has allowed more earned runs or hits. Suffice it to say, it’s been a frustrating start to the final year of the five-year, $90MM contract Samardzija earned prior to the 2016 season.
Indeed, if the results of his MRI are damning, Samardzija may see his Giants tenure come to a premature end, though hopefully that’s a fate that can be avoided yet. At the earliest, he’ll be eligible to return August 18, and the results of the MRI should bring clarity to the veteran’s timetable for a return.
The news is that much more concerning given Samardzija’s previous shoulder problems: he missed a considerable portion of the 2018 season with tightness and inflammation in his right shoulder, limiting him to just 10 starts that year. While the injury never required surgery, it hampered him throughout the year and he struggled to recover. Nearly two years removed from those injuries, it’s hard to conclude that his current issues are related to those he suffered in 2018, but one can’t help but draw a connection.
With Samardzija out of the picture for the foreseeable future and Drew Smyly also on the IL, the Giants are faced with a rotation conundrum. Beyond Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, Logan Webb, and Tyler Anderson, they’ll need to cobble together a plan in the meantime. While Suarez, taking Shark’s spot on the roster, has started for the Giants in the past, Gabe Kapler might look to deploy him in relief in the immediate future. Elsewhere on the 60-man player pool, Trevor Cahill and Dereck Rodriguez are leading depth options. They figure to be the primary candidates to replace Samardzija in the rotation.