Injuries sideline important SF Giants players

Lamonte Wade Jr.
Lamonte Wade Jr. / Rob Tringali/GettyImages

One of the main concerns about a shortened Spring Training thanks to the MLB lockout was pitchers suffering more injuries than before during the regular season. Unfortunately for the SF Giants, they've seen multiple position players go down in recent exhibitions.

The maladies begin with first baseman Brandon Belt, who was already recovering from a fractured thumb that ended the best full season of his career in 2021 just a week before the Giants took on the Los Angeles Dodgers in what ended up being a nail-biting National League Division Series loss.

Belt, who last season finished one home run shy of being the first Giants hitter with 30 blasts in a single campaign since Barry Bonds in 2004, has been suffering from right knee inflammation and has yet to make his Spring Training debut. Manager Gabe Kapler said Belt is expected to be ready for Opening Day on April 8, "as of now", which certainly leaves open the possibility that he isn't ready by then.

Third baseman Evan Longoria also entered camp with a lingering injury: right index finger tendinitis caused by a hit-by-pitch late last season, and it reportedly flared up on him before spring games began. Originally expected to be fully healthy for the season opener, Longoria and the Giants pivoted to surgery to make sure the finger heals. The recovery of at least 10 days means he'll miss Opening Day and possibly more.

Coming off late-October Achilles surgery, infielder Tommy La Stella began camp slowly but has recovered enough to get into his first Spring Training game in the last few days. La Stella said his status for Opening Day is still "up in the air", but he's not ruling out being available for the opener.

SF Giants outfielder injured running the bases

Possibly the biggest in-game loss this spring, and the most open-ended recovery time, is outfielder Lamonte Wade Jr. The breakout performer in 2021, and the hopefully not the last diamond-in-the-rough find by Farhan Zaidi, exited Monday's Spring Training game after scoring from third base on a groundout.

An MRI revealed left-knee bone bruising and inflammation, requiring Wade to rest for 10 days before being re-evaluated. The big left-handed bat is out for Opening Day and possibly beyond.

The most recent concern is outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, who exited Tuesday's game after just two innings as a precaution because of a tight right quad. It remains to be seen whether "Yaz" is sidelined by the issue or if it's just a blip on the radar, but missing him along with the other confirmed and potential Opening Day absences could cause the Giants to field a unique lineup for the first few meaningful games.