Santiago Casilla strained his right hamstring Wednesday night running to first base after a rare at-bat. This morning, it was announced by Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News (and others) that Casilla will be put on the disabled list. The San Francisco Giants called up George Kontos from Triple-A Fresno as the corresponding move.
Giants make it official: Casilla to DL, @G_Kontos called up. He had 35 strikeouts, 3 walks in 23 2/3 Triple-A innings.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 22, 2014
Losing Casilla, the 8th inning setup man, from the bullpen is a huge loss for the Giants. He’s been pretty steady during his time with the Giants. In his five years with the teams, he holds a 2.12 ERA, with his worst season being 2012 where it was 2.84. That was the year he and Sergio Romo split closing duties after Brian Wilson was injured and he was pitching more innings than usual in a role he wasn’t used to. All that to say, Casilla has been an excellent pitcher for the Giants.
Kontos is back in the bullpen for the second time this season. He was called up after David Huff went on the disabled list for doing the exact same thing that Casilla did – running to first base too hard. Kontos has really good numbers in Triple-A, with 35 strike-outs in just 23.3 innings pitched. He’s only issued three walks, too. In San Francisco this year, he pitched just 2 innings, giving up three hits, but allowing zero runs.
Giants fans know that Casilla at-bats are always fun to watch. For instance, this at-bat of his from 2011 was an instant classic for Giants fans. It was his very first career at-bat.
Relief pitcher at-bats are so rare that we as fans sometimes cheer for them. Heck, even the players on the benches cheer for them, as Brandon Crawford pointed out.
“Everyone was laughing and joking, and we were still laughing when he hit the ball,” Crawford said. “And then he’s on the ground in pain. It was a bittersweet win, for sure. It’s one of the most depressing feelings we’ve had in a win.”
Bruce Bochy, however, was a bit shocked when Casilla swung the bat, as he was instructed not to swing. He said he may have to make a rule for pitchers to only jog to first base. I’m sure it was a joke, but perhaps with a bit of seriousness in at least addressing the issue with pitchers.
“I was shocked he was running like that,” Bochy said. “When he hit the ball, I guess he thought he had a hit. I don’t know what got into him. I’ve never seen him run like that.”
“I guess we’ll have to make it a rule to jog,” Bochy said. “These guys run every day. They run their sprints. It’s a little different, I guess. You think you’ll get a hit, you go for it.”
At any rate, the Giants will need to find a new setup man for the 8th inning. No word on who that will be, but I know my vote is Jean Machi.