AT&T PARK — For the third straight day, San Francisco Giants All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford is not in the lineup.
While manager Bruce Bochy said his 31-year old infielder would start on Sunday, the training staff had other ideas regarding Crawford’s left knee.
“He’ll get at least another day,” Bochy said. “Once the medical staff clears him, he’ll be back in there … It’s bruised. Just playing. A lot of playing, diving and things like that. Bruised it up pretty good, so he’s getting a break, and we’ll see how he feels in Colorado.”
Crawford has played in 129 of the Giants’ 137 games so far, missing only three previous games due to injury (non-consecutive) and three days to witness the birth of his fourth child with wife Jalynne. Since the All-Star break, though, Crawford has slumped badly.
After starting the season hitting .189 through the end of April, Crawford had a scorching May and June, hitting .372 with a 1.038 OPS, eight home runs, 35 RBIs and 30 runs scored in 52 games. Since the start of July, he’s hitting .177 (32-for-181) with just two home runs and 11 RBIs in 50 games.
With the New York Mets starting right-hander Noah Syndergard on Sunday, it will be Alen Hanson getting start in Crawford’s place in the series finale. The switch-hitting Hanson is hitting .284 against righties this season, but only .194 against lefties.
If the injury drags on, San Francisco does have another backup option. The Giants called up utility infielder Kelby Tomlinson for the fourth time this season Sunday morning, and he can be used at both middle infield spots.
Tomlinson — who broke camp with the team– was optioned on June 1 after Joe Panik returned from thumb surgery. He came back up on July 4, was sent down the next day, came back to San Francisco on July 15 only to be optioned on July 26, returned on July 30, and went back to Sacramento on Aug. 4.
In 53 games with the Giants this season, Tomlinson has hit .226 with four doubles, two triples and 10 RBIs. This season, he’s played second base and shortstop in the major leagues, but also played third and left field in 2017 during 61 games with the big club.
“Tommy’ll help us out everywhere,” Bochy said. “He gives you a lot of options as a manager, and you love to have that flexibility. He can play second, short, third, even play in the outfield and come off the bench. He’s a great double-switch guy. Good pinch hitter. The fact that he can run, you can pinch run him. He’s a valuable player. Really super utility guy that can help you do some things.”