The SF Giants should receive a boost in terms of outfield depth soon enough. Left-handed-hitting outfielder Luis González is expected to begin a rehab assignment according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
SF Giants left-handed-hitting outfielder to begin rehab assignment
González had a challenging start to the season as he was expecting to play for Team Mexico during the World Baseball Classic. However, he was unable to do so due to a stipulation in his insurance policy that prevented him from participating if he finished the 2022 season on the injured list.
The 27-year-old outfielder underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disk during spring training. The expectation was that he would miss the first half of the season, so he appears to be on schedule for a return.
The Giants originally acquired him in a waiver claim from the Chicago White Sox in 2021. González underwent shoulder surgery, so they placed him on waivers rather than add him to the active roster and transfer him to the 60-day injured list, thereby allowing him to accrue service time.
San Francisco took advantage of this by claiming him, knowing that he would be unable to help the team until the following season. The lefty bat did have some positive moments with the Giants last year as he slashed .254/.323/.360 (94 OPS+) with four home runs, 36 RBI, and 31 runs in 350 plate appearances. This included an 8.6 percent walk rate against a 21.4 percent strikeout rate.
González had a very strong start to the 2022 campaign as he took home Rookie of the Month honors for May. In that month, he posted a .368 batting average with one home run in 83 plate appearances. That home run came off of Albert Pujols, who pitched for the first and only time in his career during a game in which the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Giants convincingly by a score of 15-6.
The outfielder did demonstrate some extreme platoon splits, which included a .750 OPS against right-handed pitching and a .536 OPS against left-handed pitching. It did feel like he drew the short stick often as he was used in some unfavorable matchups against lefties due in part to the fact that the Giants' outfield contingent leaned a little too much in terms of left-handed hitters.
There were certainly some positives. That said, González had some defensive and baserunning miscues that stood out as well. If he begins a rehab assignment, he will have up to 20 days before the Giants need to decide to activate him or place him on waivers.
He would need to be added back to the 40-man roster, but he does have a minor-league option year remaining, so carries some roster flexibility.