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SF Giants: Brandon Crawford makes step towards return

DENVER, CO - MAY 5: Brandon Crawford #35 of the SF Giants points to the sky as he crosses home plate after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 5, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MAY 5: Brandon Crawford #35 of the SF Giants points to the sky as he crosses home plate after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 5, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Brandon Crawford
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – APRIL 03: Brandon Crawford #35 of the SF Giants in action against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on April 03, 2021. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Less than one week after the SF Giants placed shortstop Brandon Crawford on the injured list with a mild oblique strain, the star has resumed baseball activities, according to a report by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. While the Giants have managed to maintain their place atop the National League West despite Crawford’s absence, the team would surely get a boost from his return. At this rate, Crawford should be able to return to the lineup in the first or second week of August.

SF Giants SS Brandon Crawford takes a huge step in rehab.

Crawford was in the middle of a career year before hitting the injured list. At 34, the UCLA alum had been a steadily declining regular over the last few seasons. Entering the final season of his contract in 2021, many expected his downward trajectory to continue. Yet, while Crawford made franchise history this season, breaking the team record for games played at shortstop, he’s performed like he’s still in his prime. In 82 games, Crawford is hitting .282/.363/.546 (all of which would be career highs) with 18 home runs, a mark he’s only topped in a single season once before. His Gold Glove-caliber defense has also looked as sharp as ever and helped him receive a selection to this year’s All-Star game.

Thairo Estrada has received most playing time at shortstop since Crawford went down, quickly taking advantage of the opportunity. After blasting the ball at Triple-A, Estrada is hitting .339/.403/.536 in 62 plate appearances. However, several factors, including a .410 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), suggest that Estrada will likely suffer some dramatic regression as the season wears on. The Giants hope Crawford can return just in time to make that a moot point.

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SF Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford resumed baseball activities earlier this week, which is a significant step towards making a quick return from the injured list.

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