The Giants have confirmed an earlier report from Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group that starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder impingement. Left-handed pitcher Andrew Suarez was recalled to take Shark’s spot on the roster.
Samardzija had been dealing with a blister to begin the season. The blister has prevented him from throwing his splitter in his three starts this season. In just 13.2 innings of work, Samardzija has allowed the most hits (18), earned runs (15), and home runs allowed (6). His peripherals haven’t been kind either, striking out just five and walking four.
Suarez had been with the Giants during the Rockies series but was optioned alongside Steven Duggar when rosters were cut from 30 to 28 players.
Suarez has been developed by the Giants as a starter but worked primarily out of the bullpen as a long reliever in 2019. In his career, Suarez has completed 193 innings in 31 starts and 29 relief appearances over his career. Suarez has a career 4.71 ERA, 7.2 strikeouts per 9 innings, and 2.8 walks per 9 innings.
SF Giants’ roster move isn’t a huge surprise
With Samardzija’s struggles and blister, the transaction doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The injury denoted is concerning. For the majority of the 35-year old Samardzija’s career, he’s been known as a workhorse. Over the last couple of seasons, however, he’s been mired by shoulder problems.
Samardzija’s velocity is noticeably down this season. According to Baseball Savant, his 4-seam fastball is averaging 90 mph and his sinker is averaging 90.2. Last season, Samardzija’s sinker averaged 92.2 mph and his fastball averaged 91.6 mph.
Since Shark’s stuff has declined, he’s become even more reliant on controlling contact. Even if the velocity decline isn’t caused by his shoulder injury, it’s a concerning sign for the impending free agent.
While Suarez slotting into Samardzija’s spot in the rotation seems most straightforward, it wouldn’t be surprising if manager Gabe Kapler tries to utilize Suarez in a more versatile bullpen role before optioning him for Dereck Rodriguez when the open spot comes around.