JULY 5: Casali told reporters (including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle) he’s been diagnosed with a Grade 2 oblique strain. As Slusser notes, that’s an injury that often sidelines players for upwards of a month. Bart has reported to the major league team, as expected, but has not yet been officially recalled onto the active roster.
JULY 4: Giants catcher Curt Casali suffered an oblique strain during an at-bat in tonight’s game. During the sixth inning, Casali was in discomfort after taking a swing, and had to leave the game before finishing his plate appearance.
Casali will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the damage, though a trip to the injured list is a certainty. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic noted that Joey Bart was scratched from a Triple-A lineup tonight after word of Casali’s injury spread, and thus Bart is likely on his way back to the majors once Casali is placed on the IL.
Now in his second season with the Giants, Casali has been the constant behind the plate, first in a timeshare with Bart behind the plate, and then splitting time with Austin Wynns after Bart was optioned back to Triple-A. While any Giants catcher had a tough act to follow in Buster Posey, Casali has provided roughly league-average (104 wRC+, 99 OPS+) offense with his .236/.331/.377 slash line. Almost all of the damage has come against southpaws — Casali has a mammoth 1.232 OPS over 33 PA against left-handed pitching, and only a .526 OPS in 91 PA against righties.
Between his solid offense and defense, Casali has helped stabilize the catching position in the wake of struggles from Bart and Wynns. San Francisco was hoping that former top-prospect Bart was ready for regular work in the big leagues, yet Bart has hit only .156/.296/.300 in 108 PA this season. With only seven games under his belt at Triple-A, the Giants surely would’ve preferred to see Bart get more reset time and start to dominate (he has a .748 OPS in 31 Triple-A plate appearances) in the minors before bringing him back to the Show.
If and when Bart is recalled, the Giants will retain what is technically a three-catcher depth chart on the active roster, as Yermin Mercedes is also active. However, it seems like the Giants are more apt to give Bart another look than to rely on Wynns and Mercedes as their full-time catching tandem while Casali recovers from what might be a lengthy absence. Should Casali have the type of oblique strain that lingers for weeks or even months, the Giants could even opt to add another catcher prior to the August 2 trade deadline.