The Giants have placed third baseman Evan Longoria on the 10-day injured list due to a left oblique strain, the club announced. Catcher Joey Bart was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take his place on the active roster.
Longoria lands on the shelf for the second time this year. The three-time All-Star missed the first month-plus of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn finger ligament late in Spring Training. He returned to play on May 11 and has started 35 of the club’s 48 games since his reinstatement. Longoria has continued to produce at the plate when healthy, as he carries a solid .242/.331/.462 line through 151 plate appearances. That’s obviously not at the level he showed at his peak with the Rays, but it’s a second straight season of decidedly above-average power production.
Manager Gabe Kapler has relied upon Longoria as his primary third baseman. They’ll presumably need to mix and match at the hot corner at least through the All-Star Break now, with Wilmer Flores, Tommy La Stella and recent call-up David Villar among the various infield options on the roster. (La Stella has played mostly designated hitter this year but is getting the nod at second base tonight against Arizona). The club hasn’t provided a specific timetable on Longoria’s return, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes he took part in pre-game activities today to gauge his availability for tonight’s game. Obviously, his body didn’t respond to that work as hoped, but that the Giants initially believed there was a chance he could avoid the IL seemingly suggests they’re not anticipating a long-term absence.
Longoria is in the final guaranteed season of the extension he originally signed a decade ago with Tampa Bay. The Giants hold a $13MM club option on his services for next year, but it remains to be seen if he’ll continue playing. In a reflective conversation with Slusser last week, the 36-year-old (37 in October) acknowledged he’s given some thought to the possibility of hanging up his spikes at the end of the year. Longoria certainly didn’t commit to retirement, saying he hasn’t yet “made up (his) mind” and has “really gone back and forth with (his) wife about this so many times.” He nevertheless acknowledged that a handful of injuries and being away from his family in recent years has taken both a physical and emotional toll.
That’ll presumably be sorted out a few months from now, but Longoria’s immediate focus will be on making his return to a San Francisco team that has scuffled of late. The Giants have dropped six in a row and eight of their last ten, falling to 40-39 in the process. They’re two games back of the Cardinals and Phillies in the race for the National League’s final Wild Card spot entering play tonight.