TODAY: Crawford’s knee MRI revealed “nothing notable,” manager Gabe Kapler told reporters (including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle), so there isn’t any beyond inflammation and bruising.
JULY 16: The Giants announced a series of roster moves today, with third baseman Evan Longoria and right-hander Jakob Junis returning from the 10-day and 15-day injured lists, respectively. Longoria and Junis will take the places of two other players, as Brandon Crawford has been placed on the 10-day IL due to knee inflammation, and right-hander Mauricio Llovera was placed on the 15-day IL because of a Grade 2 flexor strain.
Crawford only just returned a few days ago from another 10-day absence due to that knee soreness, and manager Gabe Kapler mentioned at the time that Crawford has been bothered by his knee for much of the season. Given the nagging nature of the injury and the fact that Crawford was so quickly sidelined again, it’s probably safe to guess that the shortstop will miss more than just 10 days this time around. With the All-Star break coming, those four off-days will absorb a good chunk of the IL time for both Crawford and Llovera.
A longer absence would seem to be in order for Llovera, and it is possible his 2022 season could be over, depending on how well he can recover from the more significant strain. The righty suffered the injury in last night’s game, after tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings in San Francisco’s 8-5 win over the Brewers.
Llovera has a 4.41 ERA over 16 1/3 frames, with one particularly rough outing (four runs in 1/3 of an inning) against the Mets on May 23 accounting for much of that ERA damage. Now in his third MLB season and first with the Giants, Llovera has been shuttled up and down from Triple-A multiple times this year.
Junis has missed five weeks due to a hamstring strain, and he’ll now take Llovera’s spot in the bullpen while getting built up for more rotation work. Junis had a 2.63 ERA over his first 48 innings (starting seven of nine games) before going on the 15-day IL, and the Giants will need similar quality in their rotation now that Anthony DeSclafani is gone for the season.
A left oblique strain sidelined Longoria for only the minimum 10 days, and the veteran third baseman will now hope to finally get a sustained run of healthy baseball for the rest of the season. Longoria already had to delay his 2022 debut until May 11 due to finger surgery, but he has hit solidly well while available, hitting .242/.331/.462 with eight homers over 151 plate appearances.
With Longoria back and Crawford out of action, the Giants will again shuffle around their versatile infield mix. Longoria will return to his customary third base spot, and Thairo Estrada figures to get most of the playing time at shortstop. David Villar also figures to toggle between second and third base, and Wilmer Flores will continue getting regular work as a designated hitter, second baseman, and part-time first baseman.