Giants manager Gabe Kapler announced to reporters Tuesday that outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. will open the 2022 season on the injured list (Twitter links via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area and Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic). Wade recently exited a Giants Cactus League game and underwent an MRI after experiencing discomfort in his left knee. The imaging revealed inflammation and a bone bruise, and doctors recommended 10 days of downtime before being reevaluated. That shutdown alone will take Wade beyond Opening Day, and it remains to be seen whether he’ll need additional rest or treatment at that point. Even if he’s cleared for baseball activity, he’d likely need at least a quick ramp-up period before jumping back into games.
It’s the second injury of note for the Giants in as many days. The team announced yesterday that third baseman Evan Longoria will undergo surgery to repair a damaged ligament in his throwing hand. He’ll need to have his finger immobilized for a minimum of 10 days following that operation, and with any surgery, there’s the potential for an absence of some note. The Giants didn’t provide an immediate timeline but will surely have updates once Longoria’s surgery has been completed.
With Wade now sidelined to begin the season, San Francisco will likely turn to an Opening Day outfield alignment featuring Joc Pederson in left field, Steven Duggar in center and Mike Yastrzemski in right. The Giants are deep in infield/outfield types, with Austin Slater, Darin Ruf and Mauricio Dubon all having experience both on the dirt and in the grass. Thairo Estrada and Jason Vosler, too, have a bit of outfield experience, though their play there has been more sparse than Slater, Ruf and Dubon. Outfielders Heliot Ramos and Jaylin Davis are both on the 40-man roster as well, though they’ve both been optioned to minor league camp already.
San Francisco will obviously hope for a fairly minimal absence for Wade, who proved to be their latest diamond-in-the-rough find this past season. Acquired in a minor trade with the Twins, the 28-year-old Wade eventually seized a semi-regular role at Oracle Park and slashed .253/.326/.482 with 18 home runs, 17 doubles and a trio of triples in 361 plate appearances. He was platooned heavily, logging just 42 plate appearances against southpaws and turning in a woeful .135/.200/.189 slash in that small sample. Wade is on track to be arbitration-eligible next winter and can be controlled through the 2025 season