The Giants announced that third baseman Evan Longoria has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left shoulder. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters (including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle). Utilityman Thairo Estrada has been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento in his place.
Longoria suffered the injury when he collided with shortstop Brandon Crawford during last night’s game against the Cubs. It’s a brutal development for a Giants team holding a two-game advantage in a highly competitive NL West. Longoria has been one of the most instrumental pieces of the club’s success, putting up a .280/.376/.516 line with nine home runs over 186 plate appearances. After adjusting for pitcher-friendly Oracle Park, Longoria’s 146 wRC+ places him among the top 25 qualified hitters in the sport this season. That kind of production is reminiscent of his peak days in Tampa Bay, when Longoria was one of the game’s most valuable players.
There’s virtually no way for the Giants to replace that kind of production, but San Francisco now seems likely to turn to some combination of Wilmer Flores, Jason Vosler and Mauricio Dubón at third base. Flores has generally been a decent hitter over the past few years. The 29-year-old is hitting a league-average .248/.328/.380 in 137 plate appearances this season.
On the plus side, San Francisco is at least set to welcome one of their other top bats in the next few days. First baseman Brandon Belt is expected to be reinstated from the injured list during the team’s upcoming road trip, per Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Belt, out since May 26 with an oblique issue, has hit .228/.350/.474 over 137 trips to the plate.