SF Giants power-hitting catcher Joey Bart has not yet taken the field yet this season but there has been plenty said about him so far. That said, Giants fans will have to wait a little longer before they see Bart on the field as he landed on the injured list with a back strain on Sunday.
SF Giants power-hitting catcher lands on the injured list with back strain
Sean Hjelle, who had a fantastic spring, was recalled in a corresponding roster move per the team's transaction log. The Giants began the year with three catchers in Bart, Blake Sabol, and Roberto Pérez. This was needed to offset the lack of catching experience with Sabol, who had a total of 94 games as a pro behind the dish before the season began.
Sabol is in Sunday's lineup, making his first career major league start at catcher. He was in the lineup in the first two games of the three-game series against the New York Yankees, but played in the outfield.
For now, the Giants will have to lean heavily on Pérez's veteran experience and defensive acumen while hoping that Sabol can show that he can stick at catcher.
The Giants originally indicated that Hjelle would break camp with the club. However, that did not come to fruition, but the 6-foot-11 pitcher did travel with the Giants as part of the taxi squad. He will give them a little extra coverage in the bullpen after Alex Cobb was only able to complete 3.2 frames against the New York Yankees in the second game of the season.
Hjelle debuted with San Francisco last year and he tallied a 5.76 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.64 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, and a 3.50 SO/W ratio. It was a brief showing, but the right-handed pitcher did not exactly make a case for a role on the 2023 team.
However, he did make a compelling case this spring. The 25-year-old recorded a 1.59 ERA with 22 strikeouts against only three walks in 17 innings this spring. When you consider how offensively-inclined the Cactus League is, those are some pretty impressive numbers.
This could be a brief call up for Hjelle as the Giants have a day off coming on Monday. Though, it could be another opportunity for the pitching prospect to prove that he can stick in the majors.