June 20, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Nori Aoki (23) runs to third in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
After a tedious extra-inning affair that saw another brilliant Madison Bumgarner outing end in a no decision, the San Francisco Giants received some bad news on potential All-Star outfielder Nori Aoki. What was originally thought to be a lower-leg contusion has turned out to be a broken bone.
The injury occurred on Saturday when a pitch got away from Dodgers starter Carlos Frias.
Aoki continued to first base and actually limped his way around the diamond, but left the game was a late scratch yesterday after feeling considerable discomfort.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, “Neither Bochy nor Aoki provided a timetable for his return. Both said Aoki will be in the cast for about two weeks before he is X-rayed again.” It has also been reported by Henry Schulman of the Chronicle that Aoki will be replaced by Travis Ishikawa:
"If the Giants follow through and promote Ishikawa, it would make sense on several levels. He would provide a left-handed bat to replace Aoki’s. Plus, manager Bruce Bochy would have the flexibility to move Brandon Belt to left field while having Ishikawa play first base against right-handed pitchers, while leaving Buster Posey behind the plate for the most part."
On top of Aoki’s injury, and a heart-breaking loss last night, the San Jose Mercury News relayed that Sergio Romo left the game with a hyperextended knee. There is no current timetable for his return, though we should know more after he is reevaluated today.
This has the makings of a disastrous month as the team nears the All-Star break, but Giants fans will all count on the fact that San Francisco plays “team baseball” like no other club in the Major Leagues. This unique dynamic was summed up in a recent article from Buster Olney of ESPN, who wrote:
"This is merely one example of the Giants having the major league’s purest merit-based culture, a climate in which the manager’s choices are simplified: Bochy’s decisions are based on what gives his team the best chance to win that day’s game."
Let’s hope that Boch can show his mastery in the coming weeks. It would be great to see that early-season spark that Justin Maxwell provided, and Ishikawa will hopefully be able to rekindle what he brought to the table late last season. In the meantime, be sure and send good, healing vibes to all of the Giants in the injury ward.