The SF Giants blasted 13 home runs in a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox this week and they did so without contributions from a couple of key bats. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Mitch Haniger (oblique) and Austin Slater (hamstring) are not likely to return during this homestand, but both should be available in the next trip.
2 injured SF Giants outfielders unlikely to be ready for homestand
Haniger sustained an oblique injury midway through spring training and was unable to get back into game action before the season began. On the other hand, Slater dealt with an elbow injury early in camp. He recovered from that but sustained a hamstring injury that put him back on the shelf.
The Giants lineup has been a bit inconsistent so far this year. They have flashed awesome upside such as the 16-6 victory against the White Sox on Thursday where they blasted six home runs. On the other hand, the bats have also gone silent at times like the 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday.
A little more stability would certainly help and that is what both players bring to the table. Of course, Haniger was brought in to hit in the middle of the order, whereas Slater will likely be tabbed as the leadoff hitter against left-handed pitching.
San Francisco signed Haniger to a three-year, $43.5 million pact this past winter. This includes an opt-out after the 2024 season. The right-handed bat has had some fantastic seasons with the Seattle Mariners including a 39-homer campaign in 2022. However, his contract comes with plenty of injury risk as he has appeared in over 100 games just twice in his six-year career.
Slater is a known commodity to Giants fans. The 30-year-old agreed to a $3.2 million contract in his second turn through arbitration in the offseason. He has carved out a nice role on the Giants and has really excelled in recent seasons.
The right-handed bat registered a .264/.366/.408 line (119 OPS+) with seven home runs, 34 RBI, and 49 runs in 325 plate appearances last year. Slater tallied an .824 OPS against lefties last year, which has become a role that he has really embraded.
His injury hurt as the Giants were already thin on center field depth. Mike Yastrzemski has played in every game so far but San Francisco does have Bryce Johnson as an option until Slater returns.
The current lineup has some quality length to it. However, that should improve if either or both are able to return after this six-game homestand. If that is the case, they would debut on the road against either the Detroit Tigers or the Miami Marlins.