SAN DIEGO – Every team experiences injuries throughout the season. The hope is that injuries are spread out and not clumped together. San Francisco is suffering from the latter, as Casey McGehee exited tonight during the first inning with a left knee strain.
The injury occurred when McGehee hit a drive to left-center, which Wil Myers chased down. As McGehee exited the batter’s box down the first baseline, an injury was apparent, as he made it just a few steps before dropping to his knees. The San Francisco training staff immediately came onto the field, where it was determined that McGehee would have to be removed from the game. He was replaced in the lineup by utility man Jaoquin Arias.
McGehee joins Brandon Belt, Jake Peavy and Matt Cain as players that have suffered minor setbacks since the beginning of the regular season. In addition to the quartet, Hunter Pence and Travis Ishikawa are currently on the 15-day disabled list with injuries suffered during spring training.
The Giants acquired McGehee during the offseason in an effort to replace Pablo Sandoval, who left for Boston via free agency. San Francisco dealt minor league players Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo to the Miami Marlins for the 32-year-old third baseman.
McGehee, who grew up in Santa Cruz and played for Fresno State University in college, had an excellent 2014 season, slashing .287/.355/.357 with 76 RBI and 29 doubles while hitting behind Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton. San Francisco was hoping he could provide that type of production hitting behind perennial-MVP candidate Buster Posey.
If the Giants have to place McGehee on the disabled list, several options could be used at third base. Arias, who replaced McGehee during the Padres game is an option, but Arias is not an offensive threat and would weaken the San Francisco lineup.
The Giants could opt to start rookie Matt Duffy at the hot corner. Duffy had an outstanding spring training. He does not profile as the prototypical third baseman, lacking power that is usually a prerequisite. However, Duffy does a nice job of making contact and adds speed to the San Francisco lineup. He is an average defender that does not have exceptional arm strength.
One final option that the Giants’ front office and Manager Bruce Bochy could explore is calling up prospect Adam Duvall. The 26-year-old could provide additional power to the San Francisco lineup, but tends to strikeout frequently. Also, Duvall is not well-regarded for his defense, which could be a problem for a pitching staff reliant on solid defense.
Until an examination gives an idea of how long McGehee will be injured, it may be in the best interest of the Giants to play Duffy at third for the time being.