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San Francisco Giants: Recurring Hamstring Pulls are a Problem

Feb 19, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants players stretch during spring training workouts at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants players stretch during spring training workouts at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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So, that didn’t last long. After spending a stint on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Matt Cain returned for one start, during which he re-aggravated the injury to land back on the DL. That means the San Francisco Giants will be going back to Albert Suarez, who filled for Cain admirably earlier this month, to handle the fifth-starter duties.

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The Giants should be fine with Suarez making a few starts. The bigger issue is what’s going on with these recurring hamstring injuries? Hunter Pence tweaked his hamstring, missed six games, and then returned only to have a tendon in the same hamstring rip, landing Pence on the DL for two months. And then there’s Angel Pagan, who has recently dealt with two episodes of a strained hammy.

This raises a couple questions: are Giants players properly working on their flexibility? (Three hammy injuries so close together seems like a lot.) And is the team rushing its players back from these injuries?

That’s not to suggest they’re doing it with disregard for the players’ health, but I wonder if they’re discounting how delicate these large leg muscles are? It’s one of those areas that, after appearing to be ready for use, still requires considerable rest to fortify the healing process. It’s a delicate muscle with a huge responsibility: it’s fundamental to moving the body forward, laterally and vertically at high rates of speed and force.

Speaking from personal experience, hamstrings take a long time to mend. I’ve had five pulled hammies in my day, the first coming while training for football, and the other four happening while playing rec league softball (which I’m sooooo proud of, by the way.) It usually doesn’t take too long to get back to light running, but to exert yourself on a softball field is another matter. And to go all out at the highest level of competition—even with the highest level of treatment—is yet another matter.

Imagine: a brick wall gets knocked down by some zombies wandering by your property. You survive the attack and rebuild the wall. It looks great, but the cement hasn’t been allowed to fully dry before more zombies are back and are again trying to push through the wall. Maybe it holds up against the first few zombies, but then some newly “turned” behemoth wanders over from the local Gold’s Gym and gives your wall a good shoulder slam.

Had the wall been allowed a couple more days to settle, it would’ve held up better against this bigger zombie. But alas, it wasn’t as solid as it looked, and it crumbled just as it had before.

Next: Bumgarner in the HR Derby Could Be Big Inspiration

Maybe the next time one of their players comes up lame, the Giants should think about giving him a few more days of rest he returns to the field. (And maybe I should watch a little less Walking Dead.)

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