Third baseman Evan Longoria in April of 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Third baseman Evan Longoria in April of 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco Giants Notebook: Evan Longoria returns, Brandon Belt Heads to DL with knee injury

AT&T Park — San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy had been counting down the days until third baseman Evan Longoria could return from a broken left hand, knowing the former Rays standout could elevate the play of his inconsistent infield. He began each pregame media session last week by updating Longoria’s progress rehabbing at Triple-A Sacramento.

As the leader of a ballclub hovering around .500, amid a season-long rash of injuries that had already sidelined three rotation stalwarts and two infielders for extended periods, Bochy perhaps shouldn’t have been so optimistic that getting Longoria back would mean things would get back to normal.

On Thursday, Bochy wrote Longoria’s name on the lineup card for the first time since mid-June, but the Giants also had to place first baseman Brandon Belt on the 10-day disabled list with a hyperextended right knee. Belt suffered the injury Wednesday, and a subsequent MRI showed a related bone bruise, Bochy said, which will shut Belt down from baseball activities for about five days.

As Bochy conferred with Longoria before San Francisco’s game against the Brewers, he avoided pressing for too much information about how he’s feeling. He understands the third baseman’s play will be particularly important without Belt in the lineup.

“I talked to him and didn’t go into detail,” Bochy said. “I just assumed he feels fine at the plate. He better, because he’s in there.”

Longoria, signed last offseason, hadn’t been at his best before going down. His .246 batting average and .278 on-base percentage were among the worst of his career. But as a three-time All-Star with a long record of big league success, he possessed a higher ceiling than primary replacement Pablo Sandoval. Now, he’ll be expected to carry a major load in the middle of the Giants order. On Thursday, he’ll bat fifth between catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Belt’s year has been better by comparison — both on and off the field. He’s hitting .278 and needs just five more home runs to establish a personal best in that category. After dealing with a concussion last season, he’s avoided similar health scares this campaign. Last week, his wife, Haylee, gave birth to their second son.

For the Giants to make a serious bid at the National League West crown, they’ll likely need their first baseman back soon, regardless of how Longoria performs following his return.

On Thursday, Austin Slater will start at first base and Hunter Pence will start in left field.


Longoria’s reinstatement from the disabled list and Belt’s injury sparked of a chain of roster moves. Right-hander Chris Stratton was called up to help in the bullpen and essentially serve as a second long-relief option alongside Ty Blach. Utility player Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.

The decision to bring up Stratton, who was used as a starter earlier this year, was largely the result of heavy bullpen usage during the past five games.  

“It gives us a little bit more coverage,” Bochy said. “It makes it a little bit easier to use Ty if needed for an inning or so. We don’t need to toe the line where we don’t have the long guy available, and we’ve been running short on pitching.

“Now we have two guys, so our concerns aren’t there anymore.”


Given his .575 OPS this month, outfielder Gorkys Hernandez will sit Thursday despite a potentially advantageous matchup against Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Wade Miley.

“Just want to give him a nice little breather here, so he catches his breath and gets back out there,” Bochy said. “You know, we all go through our own slumps or skids. Sometimes [it just takes] a break.”


Second baseman Joe Panik (groin strain) will begin a rehab assignment on Thursday and adhere to the same ramp-up regimen Longoria completed by playing five innings, seven innings and nine innings in consecutive games. If that goes well, he could be back with the Giants next week.

Starter Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) still does not have a clear timeline for coming off the disabled list. Initially thought to be in contention for a start this week, he’s currently getting some rest before potentially throwing another bullpen this weekend.MLB

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Supervisor Dean Preston speaks about rent relief at a meeting of Faith in Action, a nonprofit serving low-income residents. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
How to apply for post-pandemic rent relief in San Francisco and California

Reyna Aguilar has amassed $20,000 in rent debt since losing her restaurant… Continue reading

Transit-only lanes on Mission Street have reduced travel times by 20 percent during the pandemic, transit officials say. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Pandemic experiments morph into long-term solutions for SF transit agency

The streets of San Francisco became real-time laboratories for The City’s public… Continue reading

Unable to connect to GPS server ‘’
Debate reignites over San Francisco’s first public bank

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, momentum was building for San Francisco to… Continue reading

Owners of Levi’s Plaza on The Embarcadero say gas boilers on the property will be replaced by electric and solar sources in the next few years. (Shutterstock)
Big plans for clean power at Levi’s Plaza

Transition to net zero carbon in step with S.F.’s environmental goals

The San Francisco Giants are encouraging their fans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. (Chris Victorio | Special to The Examiner, 2021)
Giants to entice fans to get vaccinated with ticket giveaway starting Friday

The San Francisco Giants have partnered with the city to encourage their… Continue reading

Most Read