Promising SF Giants rookie pitcher suffers potential setback

San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays
San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

While the SF Giants are surveying the market to see if other teams are interested in one of their pitchers, another pitch might soon land on the injured list. According to Danny Emerman of KNBR, Keaton Winn is scheduled to see Dr. Ken Akizuki after experiencing elbow soreness.

Promising SF Giants rookie pitcher suffers potential setback

The fact that he is seeing Dr. Akizuki is not, in itself, a sign that Winn will head to the injured list, but it is not a promising sign either. The 25-year-old pitcher was in the midst of a solid rookie campaign before this potential setback.

Plus, there had been some level of expectation that he would return to the Giants if they could find a way to trade from their starting pitching depth. San Francisco has relied heavily on Logan Webb and Alex Cobb to carry the load for the rotation.

On the other hand, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Anthony DeSclafani and Sean Manaea have all had positive stretches in 2023, but they have all struggled to perform with any type of consistency. In the case of Wood and Manaea, Giants manager Gabe Kapler has resorted to using openers to minimize unfavorable opponent matchups.

The rotation needs more stability and the hope was that Winn could help in that regard. The Giants added him to the 40-man roster this past winter after a solid 2022 season in which he posted a 4.08 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, and a 3.91 SO/W ratio in 27 appearances across three minor league levels.

The pitching prospect lost a year of development time due to the canceled 2020 minor league season, but he missed the entirety of 2021 and some of 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery as well.

Winn debuted for the Giants earlier this season where he tallied a 4.09 ERA in five appearances, including two starts. The right-hander flashed a mid-90's sinker that he pairs with an above-average splitter. He recorded a healthy number of strikeouts (8.5 K/9) in the minors and posted ground ball rates typically above 50 percent, which has been a recipe of success for other Giants pitchers.

Prior to the elbow issue, Winn had been pitching for the Sacramento River Cats. Considering that he just returned from major elbow surgery, there is an elevated level of concern, but the Giants hope that he can avoid a setback.