SF Giants have a decision looming on injured outfielder

San Francisco Giants v New York Mets
San Francisco Giants v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

In the next couple of days, the SF Giants will need to activate an injured outfielder from the 60-day injured list. The 40-man roster is full, so this is a move that might take some creativity.

SF Giants have a decision looming on injured outfielder

Steven Duggar began his rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats on June 2. The 28-year-old outfielder sustained an oblique injury in a game against the New York Mets in April that has kept him on the shelf for the majority of the season.

However, he is due to be activated soon. Position players can go through a rehab assignment for a maximum of 20 days and Duggar will be approaching that limit on Wednesday.

Before he is activated, the Giants will likely be activating Anthony DeSclafani (ankle) from the 60-day injured list and tabbing him to start Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Braves. The Giants will have a roster crunch this week, and like many front offices, this one tends to preserve depth.

Duggar began the season with the expectation of fulfilling a key role on the roster. The five-year veteran is the best defensive center fielder on the 40-man roster and proved to be able to handle right-handed pitching to the tune of a .786 OPS in 247 plate appearances last year. That is the type of profile that can lend itself to a nice career.

However, the left-handed bat slashed just .194/.231/.278 (43 OPS+) with no home runs, four RBI, and two runs in 39 plate appearances before hitting the shelf in 2022. However, he did post a 93.7-MPH exit velocity, so he was making quality contact.

Duggar has tallied just a .554 OPS in 49 plate appearances during his rehab assignment. The results are not promising, but the purpose of a rehab assignment is to gain game repetitions. That said, it is easier to discount the results of a rehab assignment from an established player, which Duggar is not.

The good news is that the speedy center fielder has a minor league option remaining, so he carries some roster flexibility that the front office covets. The Giants may be able to stash him in Sacramento as he finds a groove at the plate, but a difficult roster move lies ahead if they want to add him back to the 40-man roster.