SF Giants bring back tall pitching prospect after brief demotion
It is not too surprising that the Giants went with a pitcher. Johnson sustained the concussion on Wednesday night after crashing into the center field wall on an incredible catch. The Giants knew they would need to make a roster move and both Brett Wisely and Matt Beaty played for the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday morning.
If either one of them were joining San Francisco, they likely would not have been in the lineup at that point. The Giants are running low on position players on the 40-man roster. The only other ones on the 40-man roster in the minors are Marco Luciano and Isan Díaz. Both of them are currently on the injured list, so the Giants went with a pitcher in Hjelle.
After a really impressive spring training in which Hjelle's sinker experienced a noticeable bump in velocity, he did struggle right out of the gates in 2023. Across three appearances, the tall righty has yielded six earned runs on eight hits, four walks, and 10 strikeouts in 6.2 frames.
The good news is that he is getting a fair number of strikeouts. The bad news is that opposing hitters are hitting him at too high of a frequency. With that being said, he has allowed an unusually high .389 batting average on balls in play so far this season. That number will normalize in his favor at some point. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.
It bears mentioning that the 25-year-old is in that tough position where he has not yet established himself as a major leaguer but has minor league options remaining. So, the Giants will likely use that roster flexibility throughout the season, which is a tough way to develop.
Meanwhile, Bryce Johnson recorded three hits, including his first major league homer, in 20 at-bats this year. Anything he offers with the bat is a bonus as his strengths are speed and defense. The hope is that he is able to return to the field soon enough.