SAN FRANCISCO — Over his past three starts, Alex Wood hasn’t been the same pitcher the Giants came to depend upon last year and for large stretches of this season. On Saturday, we learned why.
The Giants placed Wood on the 15-day injured list with shoulder impingement, recalling speedy switch-hitting outfielder Bryce Johnson to take his place on the active roster for Saturday’s game against the Phillies.
The issues in Wood’s shoulder have been “build(ing) up” for “some time,” manager Gabe Kapler said, but on Saturday reached the point that both sides agreed a stint on the injured list would be best. After taking a 4.18 ERA into his Aug. 19 start at Colorado, Wood has allowed 19 earned runs in 12⅓ innings over his past three starts, raising that mark to 5.10.
“He’s just wanted to post and wanted to post,” Kapler said. “Alex knows his body very well. He knows when it’s time to hit the gas pedal and push himself. I think he had a good feel for this thing all the way through, and right now, I don’t think he can push through for this next start.”
Although an IL stint in September for a non-contending club would typically signal the end of a pitcher’s season, Kapler didn’t rule out the possibility of Wood pitching again this year. However, with the playoffs all but out of reach, the club will prioritize Wood’s health entering next season. He is under contract for 2023 at $12.5 million.
“We really want him to be able to build a foundation for 2023 this offseason,” Kapler said. “It’s not good to go into the offseason banged up because then instead of building on what you accomplished the year prior, it feels like you have to start from scratch at a later date. That’s the number one consideration. Number two, he’s very, very, competitive and he’s going to want to pitch and we’re going to want him on the mound.”
In the meantime, Kapler said the Giants won’t turn to another “traditional starter” to cover Wood’s next turns through the rotation, which comes up for the first time Tuesday in Los Angeles. That means a bullpen game of some sort, which the Giants have gone 5-5 in so far this year.
- First baseman Brandon Belt had successful surgery on his right knee Saturday morning. The procedure “went smoothly” with “no surprises,” Kapler said. Belt’s recovery time is estimated at 8-10 weeks. He is a free agent after this season.
- Catcher Joey Bart has passed his concussion tests, according to a source, and is expected to be activated as soon as he is eligible, Tuesday in Los Angeles. Bart, who has been out since taking a foul tip off his face mask on Monday, was set to resume catching drills in pregame work Saturday.
- Outfielder Lewis Brinson received a big-time welcome to San Francisco on Friday, his first game since being acquired from Houston via trade. Before knocking a pinch-hit single for his first hit in a Giants uniform, he met Barry Bonds and chatted with him before the game. Brinson said he was “a little more starstruck that expected.” The message? Keep it simple.
Contributed by local news sources