The Giants activated right-hander Logan Webb from the 10-day injured list to start tonight’s game against the Nationals. In a corresponding move, Buster Posey was placed on the 10-day IL, retroactive to July 6, with a left thumb contusion.
Posey hasn’t played since leaving last Sunday’s game early after being struck by a foul tip. It doesn’t seem there’s huge cause for concern, as the star backstop told reporters (including Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Andrew Baggarly of the Athletic) he’s hopeful he’ll return when first eligible next Friday. That’d be the Giants first game coming out of the All-Star Break, and it doesn’t seem there was any chance of Posey playing during this weekend’s series with Washington. The former MVP told reporters he’s currently unable to catch or swing the bat. Of course, that’ll also rule Posey out from participating in the All-Star Game, which he’d been slated to start as the National League’s representative at catcher.
In better health news for the Giants, infielder Tommy La Stella is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters (including Pavlovic). A significant hamstring strain sent La Stella to the injured list on May 4. He began a rehab assignment in late June but suffered a fracture in his right hand that halted his recovery. It’s been a disappointing season for La Stella, who has hit .235/.297/.353 over his first 75 plate appearances.
He’ll be joined on the rehab assignment by right-hander Aaron Sanchez (relayed by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Like La Stella, Sanchez went on the IL in early May, began a rehab assignment last month, and then had to be shut down because of an unrelated setback. Sanchez’s initial injury was biceps inflammation, but his comeback was delayed by a blister. He’s apparently ready to return to game action, as he’ll start for Low-A San Jose tomorrow night.
Getting Webb and Sanchez back should help fortify a starting rotation that has been one of the league’s best. Nevertheless, San Francisco president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi suggested the club could be in the market for external rotation help before the July 30 trade deadline (via Maria Guardado of MLB.com). With Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood, Johnny Cueto and Webb all having decent to stellar seasons, there seems to be little room on the surface for another starter, especially with Sanchez nearing a return.
That’s a group that (aside from Gausman) has traditionally had issues staying healthy, though, so it’s plenty sensible for the San Francisco front office to look to add some depth. At 54-32, the Giants are up a game on the Dodgers and four games up on the Padres in a tightly-contested NL West. There’s plenty of logic in safeguarding against potential injuries for the stretch run.
There’s also the matter of the Giants longer-term outlook to consider. Of their current starters, only Webb is a lock to be back in 2022. Gausman, DeSclafani and Wood are all slated to hit free agency, while Cueto’s $22MM club option is likely to be bought out for $5MM. Zaidi downplayed the importance of adding a multi-year player — instead suggesting the bigger priority is simply stockpiling depth for the second half of 2021 — but the front office figures to at least explore acquisitions of potential starters who could solidify the rotation beyond this season as well.