The baseball gods have victimized yet another key Giant, as the team announced Saturday that they will continue to monitor Buster Posey for concussion symptoms after he took a foul-tip to the mask behind the plate Friday night in Phoenix.
As Posey completes the concussion protocol, the Giants will rely on backup catcher Nick Hundley to fill in behind the plate. And, if everything remans on the up-and-up, Posey is likely to start at first base Sunday. They’ve also put 27-year-old minor league catcher Ronnie Freeman from Sacramento on the taxi squad, just in case.
Posey remained in the game initially after Paul Goldschmidt fouled a 2-2 pitch off the lower part of his mask near his jaw in the bottom of the first inning Friday. But after swatting a one-out single to right field an inning-and-a-half later, the All-Star catcher became lightheaded and was removed from the game.
Bruce Bochy told the Athletic that the face of the franchise would not be headed straight for the concussion disabled list, but would be a lock for a day off Saturday:
“Trust me, we’re going to err on the side of caution here. What’s important is his health, of course, long term and in baseball. We’re not going to take any risks with him.”
Before the All-Star Break, Posey was dealing with right hip inflammation that led him to decline his invitation to the All-Star Game to treat the nagging injury with cortisone injections. In 11 games since, he’s batting .364 with an .836 OPS and three doubles.
Friday’s injury marks the second documented concussion of his career. The first came at the plate during last season’s April 11 home opener against the Diamondbacks when Arizona righty Taijuan Walker beaned Posey with a 94-mph fastball.
Freeman was drafted by the D’Backs in 2012 but never made it past Triple-A Reno. He entered the Giants minor league system in 2018, starting the season with Double-A Richmond before being promoted to Triple-A in early May. With the River Cats he’s batting .232 with five doubles and 36 strikeouts in 165 plate appearances.
The Giants as a team have struggled to stay healthy all season, and the last few weeks have been especially trying. Since July 15 they’ve lost Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder), Brandon Belt (right knee), Johnny Cueto (right elbow) and Pablo Sandoval (right hamstring) to the disabled list. To make matters worse, the injuries to Cueto and Sandoval are season-ending as Cueto underwent Tommy John surgery Thursday and Sandoval will require surgery to repair a torn right hamstring sustained in a tilt with the Brewers last week.
Derek Holland (5-8, 3.90) takes on Robbie Ray (3-2, 5.05) in Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. finale. … The Giants will then return to San Francisco to begin a two-game series with the World Series champion Houston Astros Monday and Tuesday.
The Giants were forced to send out for reinforcements for a taxed bullpen ahead of Saturday’s game with Arizona after Chris Stratton lasted just three innings Friday night. Stratton and Kelby Tomlinson were optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Pierce Johnson (3-2, 5.75) and Derek Law (0-0, 7.00). In four games this week the team has required 19 innings out of its relievers.
Julie Parker is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @InsideThePark3r on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.