Joey Bart is back just in time for the first Giants-Dodgers series of the year.
The Giants catcher has been reinstated from the injured list after essentially missing the first nine games with a back strain. Bart caught an inning during opening day but felt his back tighten up before the second game of the season, when he was expected to start. In a corresponding move Monday, the Giants have designated catcher Austin Wynns for assignment.
This is a big season for the 26-year-old Bart, who struggled in 2022 while taking over the full-time gig for Buster Posey. He slashed just .215/.296/.364 with 11 homers, 25 RBIs, 26 walks and 112 strikeouts last year in 97 games with San Francisco. The pressure has been building on Bart since he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2018 to be Posey’s heir apparent.
In his two-game rehab stint with the Sacramento River Cats, Bart went 3-for-7 with an RBI single, playing catcher one game and designated hitter the other.
The Giants have already used four catchers this season. Backup Roberto Pérez has been placed on the 60-day injured list with a rotator cuff injury after hurting himself while making a throw to second base on Saturday. Wynns appeared in one contest before getting DFA'd.
Bart will be splitting duties with left-handed hitting catcher Blake Sabol, who has appeared in all nine games for the Giants this season. Sabol is 5-for 27 (.185) this year with a homer and 2 RBIs, and made history with Sean Manaea on Sunday as they formed the first All-Samoan battery in a big-league game.
Former Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez, 30, has played in the past two games with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats and remains an option to get called up at some point this year. We’ll have to see if Wynns makes it through waivers or gets traded after his DFA.