Key SF Giants outfielder suffers setback in rehab assignment

San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

It is starting to feel like the baseball gods do not want the SF Giants to have a fully healthy lineup. Both Evan Longoria and Jakob Junis departed Friday night's game prematurely after suffering hamstring injuries, but a key outfielder will also be out longer than expected with a similar injury.

Key SF Giants outfielder suffers setback in rehab assignment

LaMonte Wade Jr. was set to begin a rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday but he was noticeably absent from the lineup. Andrew Baggarly of The Atheltic reports that Wade Jr. had to suspend his rehab assignment due to hamstring tightness.

The left-handed bat was originally placed on the injured list in May with left knee inflammation. This was the same injury that kept him on the shelf at the beginning of the season as well. However, the hamstring tightness appears to be a new ailment.

The 28-year-old outfielder is slashing .240/.375/.360 (110 OPS+) with one home run, five RBI, and four runs in 32 plate appearances with the Giants in 2022. San Francisco expected him to see plenty of playing time against right-handed pitching this year, but that has not been the case due to injuries.

This has created an opportunity for Luis González
, who has filled in nicely for Wade Jr. González has posted an .802 OPS with two homers, 20 RBI, and 13 runs in 137 plate appearances for the Giants so far in 2022.

Wade Jr. had a breakout campaign with the Giants last year. He was acquired in February of 2021 in a trade that sent reliever Shaun Anderson to the Minnesota Twins.

This is a move that has paid dividends for the Giants. The outfielder produced a .253/.326/.482 line (116 OPS+) with 18 home runs, 56 RBI, and 52 runs in 381 plate appearances. He earned the nickname "Late Night LaMonte" after recording 13 hits in 23 at-bats with 12 RBI in the ninth inning in 2021. In fact, this earned him a couple of down-ballot MVP votes.

The Giants were hoping that he could build off of that strong season, but he sustained a knee injury in spring training that has kept him out for much of the season. To the Giants' credit, they have performed well against righties in Wade Jr.'s absence as they have tallied a .720 OPS with 48 of their 67 homers against right-handed pitching.

This is clearly not the type of news we wanted to see with the young outfielder. There is still plenty of season remaining, so the lefty bat has a lot of time to recover and make an impact.