The story of the SF Giants since the beginning of the 2021 season has been the success they've had putting various Major- and Minor-League retreads into positions to help the big league team. Now, following a rash of COVID-19 positive tests, Gabe Kapler will have his work cut out for him mixing-and-matching with new faces making their appearances on the roster.
Before the start of their home series against the Washington Nationals on Friday, the Giants announced they had placed first baseman Brandon Belt and right-handed pitcher Dominic Leone on the COVID-19 injured list (joining outfielders Mike Yastrzemski and Steven Duggar and right-hander Zack Littell as recent positive tests among the team), as well as optioning righty Jakob Junis to Sacramento. In their stead, infielder Jason Krizan, outfielder Ka'ai Tom and right-hander Mauricio Llovera were promoted to San Francisco.
The three players added to the active roster have little to no experience in the Major Leagues. The grizzled veteran of the trio is Tom, a left-handed batting corner outfielder who played all of 48 games in the Show in 2021, split between the Oakland Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates after being a Rule 5 draft pick of the Athletics from the Cleveland Indians organization in 2020.
Tom played nine games for the A's before being put on waivers and selected by the Pirates, where he saw action in 39 contests and put together 14 hits in 92 at-bats with a pair of home runs and 14 RBI. With just a few weeks left in the 2021 season the Pirates released him, and the Giants signed him for the final stretch and brought him back for 2022. With Sacramento this year, Tom (whose given first name is Blaze) was batting .327 in 15 games.
Llovera made his MLB debut with a single outing in 2020 for the Philadelphia Phillies before appearing in six games with Philadelphia in 2021, striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings. After being signed in the offseason, he hasn't allowed a run in six outings with Sacramento, whiffing 14 in 10 2/3 innings with only four hits and two walks allowed.
Krizan making Major League debut for SF Giants
Finally, Krizan is making his long-awaited big-league debut. Originally an 8th-round draft choice by the Detroit Tigers out of Dallas Baptist in 2011, Krizan has been in the high-minors since 2014 without being called up. In over 1100 games in the minors, the swift left-handed batter hit .275 with 83 homers and 510 runs scored.
Signed by the Giants as a minor league free agent after the cancelled 2020 season, Krizan put together his best season with Sacramento in 2021: a .316 batting average with 16 home runs and 73 RBI. He wasn't off to a great start in 2022 (just 10-for-47 with one blast), but the Giants rewarded his patience with his first Major League appearance.