It feels like one step forward, one step back when it comes to the SF Giants and injuries. They continued that trend on Monday as Mike Yastrzemski was activated, whereas Joc Pederson was placed back on the injured list with a right hand ailment according to the team's transaction log.
SF Giants switch out left-handed bats in roster move
The Giants' outfield depth was tested after not only Yastrzemski hit the injured list, but Austin Slater hit the shelf as well. Slater suffered a nagging hamstring strain while Bryce Johnson was recalled to take his roster spot.
For a handful of games, San Francisco relied on Johnson and Brett Wisely to hold down center field. Johnson can certainly do it from a defensive standpoint, but both players are extremely light on experience against major league pitching, so the return of Yastrzemski will be a welcomed sight.
Given Yastrzemski's competent glove in the outfield and his offensive upside, he is really a tough player to replace. And, the Giants do not have an obvious everyday replacement in his absence.
The left-handed bat was off to a nice start, slashing .292/.333/.854 (131 OPS+) with five home runs, 14 RBI, and 16 runs in 102 plate appearances. This includes an unusually low 4.9 percent walk rate against a 23.5 percent strikeout rate.
Prior to landing on the injured list, the 32-year-old was in the midst of a hot streak as he tallied 12 hits in 29 at-bats in the eight games leading up to the hamstring strain. The Giants feared that he would miss substantial time, but Yastrzemski is returning after just two weeks.
He will be taking Joc Pederson's spot on the roster. Pederson has been battling a wrist injury for much of this season as this is his second stint on the injured list and we are just one-quarter of the way through the season.
You would not be able to tell that from the way Pederson has been hitting as he registered a solid .235/.351/.494 line (130 OPS+) with five home runs, 18 RBI, and 12 runs in 97 plate appearances this year. The left-handed bat has appeared exclusively at DH in 2023, but Blake Sabol will likely see the bulk of the playing time there against right-handed pitching in his absence.