The SF Giants received some good news on Sunday as a key middle infielder was activated prior to the game against the Oakland A's. Thairo Estrada was involved in a scary incident last week when he was hit in the head by Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Leiter Jr.
The SF Giants welcomed back middle infielder after scary incident
The 26-year-old middle infielder was placed on the concussion list immediately following the incident. The recovery time for an injury of that nature can be unpredictable but the good news is that Estrada missed minimal time.
The Giants wasted no time in getting him back into the lineup as he is penciled in at second base against the A's. Yermín Mercedes was optioned back to Triple-A in a corresponding roster move.
In what could be an interesting experiment, the Giants are going to get Mercedes some more playing time behind the dish with the Sacramento River Cats. The 29-year-old infielder spent considerable time at catcher earlier in his pro career, but that has not been the case in recent years.
Mercedes had a handful of clutch hits in a Giants uniform, so it is a tough move to see him optioned. In 80 plate appearances, the right-handed bat slashed .243/.338/.357 (96 OPS+) with one home run, eight RBI, and nine runs. This included a solid 11.3 percent walk rate against a 21.3 percent strikeout rate.
Mercedes might have a future as a platoon hitter, especially if he can add a little extra positional versatility to his résumé. The right-handed bat posted a .752 OPS in 53 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers in 2022, which is a trend that he demonstrated with the Chicago White Sox as well.
In Estrada, the Giants get back someone who has been one of their more consistent hitters this season. In 342 plate appearances, the 26-year-old has registered a .262/.316/.406 line (102 OPS+) with nine home runs, 41 RBI, and 49 runs. He has also been one of the Giants' best and only base-stealing threats as he has tallied 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
The Giants get back a key player in Estrada as the lineup inches closer to full strength. He has had a nice season so far and will look to continue to build upon that down the stretch.