AT&T PARK — It was an easy decision to make for San Francisco Giants outfielder Steven Duggar.
He could either try and rehab his dislocated left shoulder, with a tear in the labrum, or he could have surgery.
“The recurrence rate, if you don’t ahve surgery, was through the roof,” Duggar said on Friday, three days after he dove back into second base and dislocated his non-throwing shoulder on a tag from Ketel Marte of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Duggar — who was one of San Francisco’s top five prospects before being called up on July 8 — will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum, with a recovery time around five months, just in time for him to be ready for spring training. The surgery date is not yet set, and neither are the doctor and location.
“It should be normal by right around December,” Duggar said. “I can do everyday stuff by December. I’ll be full-go baseball activity, ramped up to 100 percent right before camp starts, if there’s no setbacks.”
It wasn’t a smooth path to acceptance, though, since that tag came down on the tip of his shoulder as he popped up after sliding headfirst into second.
“I cried, I threw stuff, just privately by myself,” Duggar said. “Once I kind of got that out of my system, it’s been a laser-focus. We get this surgery done, come out of it, it’s a day-by-day thing: What can I do today to get this thing going, to ultimately be ready for camp?”
During his time in the majors, Duggar hit .255 in 41 games, with two home runs, a triple, 11 doubles and 17 RBIs. He’d begun to come into his own as of late at the plate, as well. After an 0-for-10 slump, he had six hits in his last 18 at-bats over his last five games, with a triple, a homer and four RBIs in that span, and a .980 OPS.
“Reflecting back, there were some trials along the way, but I knew that coming into it,” said Duggar, 24. “I knew I was going to fail, but I felt like I stayed with it and made adjustments along the way.”
Duggar had gotten game-winning hits on Sunday against the Texas Rangers (a triple) and Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks (a two-run homer), and had stayed in after the injury Tuesday and scored the winner against Arizona. Before that, he made a game-saving throw from the outfield.
“I really felt like I was starting to put some things together that I had worked on with [hitting coach Alonzo Powell] and [Rich] Schu, and I really started feeling like the adjustments that we had made and the plans that we had put together, they were all starting to come together at the right time,” Duggar said. “I felt like I was putting some good at-bats together and making some good things happen in the box. I feel like that was definitely encouraging for me, moving forward.”
After saying he would start catcher Aramis Garcia in the third game of this week’s series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochey pulled back and started Nick Hundley on Wednesday.
With Garcia’s family in town, awaiting the 25-year old’s big league debut, Bochy says, he’s under a bit of pressure.
“The family’s been eyeballing me pretty hard,” he said.
So, on a night where No. 4 prospect Chris Shaw will make his big league debut in left, Garcia, too, will make his first appearance at AT&T Park, starting behind the plate and catching a familiar face: Andrew Suarez. Garcia caught Suarez while both were in Triple-A Sacramento to start the year, and there’s a degree of familiarity with the rookie left-hander who turns 26 in two days.
“A little bit, he’s caught him, and we wanted to give Nick a couple days, too, since he went five in a row,” Bochy said. “We rode him pretty hard through that Arizona series, and been wanting to get [Garcia] back there and give him a start.”
All-Star catcher Buster Posey was in the ballpark on Friday, using crutches. Pablo Sandoval — who is getting out of his leg brace more and more after surgery to repair a torn hamstring — joked that he could still beat Posey in a footrace.
“He’s doing fine, he’ll be on crutches for a while,” Bochy said of Posey. “I think he’s in there riding the [exercise] bike right now, but he’ll be rehabbing for a while. I know he’s glad to get this part of it over, especially that first day or two, when you’re in a lot of pain.”
Dealing with the crutches will get a bit old, Bochy said, but at least now Posey has his rehab ahead of him, instead of more pain from bone spurs and a partially torn labrum.
Shaw will play exclusively in left, both Bochy and general manager Bobby Evans intimated. Right field will be more of a tossup, though Austin Slater should see the lion’s share of time there, potentially spelled by Hunter Pence, while Gorkys Hernandez and Gregor Blanco will play in center.
“I’ll mix it up a little bit there,” Bochy said. “Tomorrow I could change it up with a lefty going, put [Slater] back in left, but we’re talking about it now, and through these games and match-ups and things like that, but yeah. Slater will get a lot of playing time in right field.”