AT&T PARK — After he received treatment Tuesday night for a briefly dislocated shoulder, San Francisco Giants outfielder Steven Duggar proudly rotated his left arm over his head as he explained that it wasn’t nearly as sore as he thought it would be.
After the shoulder popped out thanks to a hard tag from Ketel Marte, as soon as Duggar — the Giants’ No. 3 prospect before the season began — rolled over, it popped back into place on its own.
“I guess that’s good, from what I’ve been told,” he said.
Duggar had gotten game-winning hits on Sunday against the Texas Rangers and Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and had stayed in after the injury Tuesday and scored the winner against Arizona. On Wednesday, though, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list after an MRI, and may not be back this season.
“The fact that he showed up as sore as he did today, we wanted to make sure we did the right thing,” Bochy said. “Twenty-three years old, we don’t want to take any risks.”
In Duggar’s stead, the Giants called up Gregor Blanco, who hit a walk-off home run against Albuquerque on Tuesday night for Triple-A Sacramento.
“That’s what gets you up here,” Bochy said. “Walk-off homer, we like homers here. Good way to get promoted.”
Blanco, a member of the last two World Series teams for San Francisco, will be available to play on Wednesday, and was on his way from Sacramento as Bochy addressed the media three hours before game time.
“You always pull for really good guys, and that’s Gregor,” Bochy said. “Great teammate. When he was sent down, he didn’t have to go down, but he not only did it, but he did it with a great attitude.”
In the first two months of the season, Blanco hit .242 in 42 games before being sent down on June 1. A member of the last two Giants World Series teams, Blanco hit .259 with a .698 OPS for San Francisco from 2012 to 2016, before hitting .246 for Arizona in 2017.
“He just wants to do anything to help us, whether it’s here or out there in Sacramento,” Bochy said. “He’s very popular in that clubhouse, and has done some great things here. He brings energy every day, and really, whatever role I put him in, he’s good with it.”
During his time in Sacramento, Blanco, 34, has hit .247 in 60 games, with four home runs, two triples, seven doubles and 13 RBIs, with two outfield assists. He’s played all three outfield positions, but bringing him back up — instead of top prospect Chris Shaw — was a decision based in the fact that he’s a center fielder by trade.
“It’s nice to have another center fielder,” Bochy said. “Now, could Slater go out there? Yeah. But, Gregor’s a true center fielder. As far as Shaw, time could get limited here, as far as him getting his three, four at-bats. Slater’s been getting a lot of playing time out there in left field, which, hopefully, that continues, and he can continue his part in this. We think the need right now is another center fielder.”
That said, Blanco hasn’t had a big league outfield assist since recording four in 2016. Duggar, of course, made a game-saving play in the eighth inning Tuesday night, cutting off a ball in the gap and making a strong throw in to Brandon Crawford, who relayed the ball home to cut down Nick Ahmed and maintain a scoreless tie.
Duggar — who had emerged as an everyday center fielder after being called up on July 8 — had 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.
“It really is [a gut-punch], and I told Duggy that, that I liked where he was with his game,” Bochy said. “The defense, you guys saw. He’s exciting. The range he covers, the arm, and then with the bat, he really tightened up his swing, was throwing up good at-bats … He was doing some really good things. Timing’s really awful. That’s why I feel for him.”
Before Duggar came up, Gorkys Hernandez — who got the game-winning single on Tuesday night — had been having a career year in center for San Francisco. Through July 8, he was hitting .279 with 11 home runs, nine doubles, a triple and 27 RBIs in 80 games, including 57 starts. He’ll take the lion’s share of the reps moving forward.
Jeff Samardzija saw Dr. Tim McAdams at Stanford for a second opinion on his ailing shoulder. There was no structural damage found. The recommendation was more rest and strengthening exercises.
“How long before he throws the ball, I don’t know that,” Bochy said. “He’s going to continue to rest.”
Given that there are less than five weeks left in the season, Samardzija’s return, Bochy said, was “doubtful.”
“That doesn’t mean he won’t, but it’s him getting rest and him having to build back up,” Bochy said.
That places a burden on the Giants front office, which has to evaluate what exactly they have in their $18 million-a-year right-hander. In sporadic action this year, punctuated by over 100 days on the disabled list, Samardzija threw just 44 2/3 innings, going 1-5 with a 5.44 ERA — his worst since 2010.
“I think we’ll have a better idea where we’re at this winter with him, when he’s done with his rehab and how he feels, how he throws,” Bochy said. “Obviously … we would have loved to get him back on the mound healthy and have a really solid idea of where he is at this stage.”
Bochy said that Samardzija had one of his most rigorous offseason regimens this past offseason, making the spate of injuries all the more curious.
“He put in a lot of work this winter,” Bochy said. “He was really excited about the season, put in a lot of work, but … yeah, I think the older you get, a little more time you got to put into the conditioning part of it, the strengthening part of it, but this past winter, he did that. That was part of his game plan to come back this year and be as strong as he’s ever been. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened, but not because of his winter program.”