SF Giants rookie outfielder's strong start halted by lower back strain

Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs v Chicago White Sox / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The SF Giants were set to welcome back one key outfielder as LaMonte Wade Jr. is in the midst of a rehab assignment with Triple-A. However, the injuries continue to mount as one of the top contributors on the 2022 roster is hitting the injured list.

SF Giants rookie outfielder's strong start halted by lower back strain

Prior to Thursday's game, the Giants announced that rookie outfielder Luis González was hitting the injured list with a lower back strain. Infielder Donovan Walton was recalled from Sacramento in a corresponding roster move, per the team's transaction page.

The Giants originally acquired the outfield prospect as a waiver claim from the Chicago White Sox in a move that really did not make sense from Chicago's perspective. The Giants non-tendered González in the offseason, but re-signed him to a minor league deal that has paid off nicely.

He got off to a strong start, slashing .302/.361/.447 (127 OPS+) with three home runs, 24 RBI, and 20 runs in 180 plate appearances. The left-handed bat has proven to control the strike zone well as he has recorded an 8.3 percent walk rate against a 20.6 percent strikeout rate.

Given that González has posted a 10.5 percent walk rate across five minor league seasons, the 26-year-old outfielder should still see improvement in that regard.

The Giants have been without Wade Jr. for much of the 2022 season as he continues to battle knee inflammation. González has filled in nicely in his place.

For the time being, Donovan Walton will take González's place on the roster. The Giants acquired the middle infielder in May in a trade that sent pitching prospect Prelander Berroa to the Seattle Mariners.

Berroa was a quality prospect in the Giants' farm system, so the front office likes some of the skills that Walton brings to the table.

The left-handed bat has registered a .161/.190/.339 line (45 OPS+) with one home run, eight RBI, and seven runs in 58 plate appearances since joining the Giants. Oddly enough, he has recorded only nine hits with San Francisco, but seven of them have gone for extra bases.

Walton has looked comfortable at second base and shortstop and the defensive metrics paint a favorable picture of his work with the glove. For a team that has struggled defensively, the addition of Walton helps in that area.

Though, it could be a short stay for Walton on the major league roster if Wade Jr. is healthy enough to return within the next couple of games. No return date has been announced yet.