Giants place rookie outfielder Luis González on IL with back issue

ATLANTA — For weeks, it’s appeared as if the San Francisco Giants would need to make a very tough roster decision when LaMonte Wade Jr. comes off the injured list, considering how well rookie Luis González has played.

González’s health is now a potential concern, however. The outfielder, whose .302 average tops the team, had an MRI for lower back discomfort Thursday, and after the results showed a back strain, the Giants placed him on the IL.

According to González, he missed two weeks last season with a similar problem. A long flight back to San Francisco after Thursday’s game won’t help much, either.

Wade homered Wednesday in his rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento and while the team will not bring him back early if he’s not physically ready, he could be at the point where he’s a legitimate consideration, especially with a need.

“I would just say they’re loosely related,” Kapler said of González’s health and Wade’s potential availability. “Independently, LaMonte is swinging the bat well and looks pretty hitter-ish in the batter’s box by all accounts. From what I’ve seen in short clips, his swing looks great.”

If Wade isn’t quite ready to come off the IL, the Giants could take a quick look at a new left-handed hitting outfielder: Willie Calhoun, although that would require a 40-man roster move. Calhoun is expected to report to Sacramento.

With Steven Duggar’s 60-day IL stint set to expire Thursday, the Giants swapped him to the Rangers for Calhoun, who requested a deal last month after being demoted and who cleared waivers and was outrighted earlier this month.

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