When the Giants show up to the Bronx for opening day, they’ll have a depleted outfield while Aaron Judge suits up in pinstripes.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters Friday that right fielder Mitch Haniger won’t be available to begin the season with an oblique injury. This comes after Evan Webeck of the Bay Area News Group reported Tuesday that left fielder Austin Slater is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a strained left hamstring. Both guys could end up on the injured list.
After San Francisco struck out on Judge this past offseason, reportedly offering a $360 million deal that was turned down for a similar offer from the Yankees, the Giants inked Haniger to a three-year, $43.5 million contract.
The Giants knew they’d be taking an injury risk with Haniger, who played in just 57 games last season due to back and ankle injuries, and missed all of the shortened 2020 campaign with back and core issues after overcoming a ruptured testicle in 2019. Haniger appeared in four Cactus League games and none since March 4. He is currently progressing with his individual work.
Those aren’t the only notable injury concerns to keep an eye on. Brandon Crawford returned to the lineup Wednesday after taking a 12-day break to rest his left knee, which was experiencing soreness. Joc Pederson has been dealing with lower body tightness, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, and hasn’t appeared in a game since March 19. But Kapler said both players should be fine going forward.
Considering Luis Gonzalez is out for a few weeks with a back strain, current outfield options include Michael Conforto, Mike Yastrzemski, LaMonte Wade Jr., Rule 5 Pick Blake Sabol and Bryce Johnson.
The Giants will wrap up their Cactus League action on Saturday before coming back to the Bay Area for a Sunday day game at the Oakland Coliseum against the A’s and a Monday night game against the A’s, when Sergio Romo will make a ceremonial final relief appearance.
The absence of Haniger and Slater will be only magnified on Thursday with the presence of Judge.