What Luis Gonzalez injury could mean for LaMonte Wade Jr.’s return

What González injury could mean for red-hot Wade Jr.’s return originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Whenever there’s a roster crunch coming up, people in baseball often rely on an old cliche: “These things tend to settle themselves.”

That was the case for the Giants the last couple of weeks as LaMonte Wade Jr. neared a return to an active roster that already had three left-handed-hitting outfielders, including Luis Gonzalez, who has been a revelation since taking over an everyday job because of Wade’s knee injury. But on Thursday, the dicey situation might have been temporarily resolved, and in a very unfortunate way.

Gonzalez was pulled from Wednesday’s lineup because of lower-back tightness and an MRI showed enough that the Giants put him on the IL Thursday morning. Donovan Walton, who had been on the taxi squad, was recalled for the final game in Atlanta, but the Giants do have an opening to add Wade before Friday’s game at Oracle Park if they feel he’s ready.

Wade has made four appearances for Triple-A Sacramento in his latest rehab assignment and went the distance as the designated hitter on Wednesday night. He hit a homer and a double, his first two extra-base hits since rejoining the River Cats.

“LaMonte is swinging the bat well and looks pretty hitterish in the batter’s box by all accounts,” manager Gabe Kapler told reporters in Atlanta. “From what I’ve seen in short clips, his swing looks great. Yeah, a lot of good things are happening in Triple-A.”

RELATED: Umpire’s missed final calls cost Giants in dramatic walk-off Braves loss

Kapler said Gonzalez’s flareup and Wade’s immediate future are “loosely related.” While the Giants surely had hoped to get Wade more rehab at-bats before bringing him back, they will face right-handed pitchers on Friday and Sunday and could use his bat. It’s possible that Wade is eased back similar to Brandon Belt over the past week, who also had knee issues.

The Gonzalez injury isn’t considered serious, although the timing couldn’t be worse for the rookie outfielder. There wasn’t a logical way to option him back to Triple-A given how good he has been. He now will be sidelined for at least 10 days and will surely be staring at a packed outfield as he looks to return.

These things tend to settle themselves, and there’s a decent chance that something else pops up over the next week to clear a roster spot when Gonzalez is ready to return.

Download and follow the Giants Talk Podcast

Leave a Comment