ATLANTA — Brandon Crawford’s durability is not to be questioned.
Crawford’s career-long streak without missing a significant chunk of time initially appeared in jeopardy when his left knee collided with the shin guard of Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud while scoring on a sacrifice fly Tuesday night. But afterward, Crawford felt fine, and an MRI on Wednesday confirmed there was no structural damage.
Although Crawford was out of the lineup Wednesday for the Giants’ third of four games with the Braves, manager Gabe Kapler said the club was “optimistic” that he would be able to reassume his starting spot at shortstop for the series finale Thursday.
“That was really good news for all of us,” Kapler said.
Crawford, 35, has played 1,469 games at shortstop since debuting in 2011, a franchise record. He’s never missed more than 24 in a single season since his rookie year.
“He gets banged up during the season. He gets hit by pitches. He has an awkward slide and he bangs his knee. But he’s been pretty durable over the course of his career,” Kapler said. “It seems like other players would have more significant injuries on some of the similar plays Craw’s been a part of. I just think of him as a very durable major leaguer.”
On the play, Crawford said he believed his late slide, which caused him to get both legs caught under d’Arnaud, was his only chance at scoring. Luis González had lifted a fly ball into center field, and Michael Harris II unleashed a rope that beat him to the plate. Crawford was initially ruled out, but replay showed his maneuver was successful in avoiding the tag from d’Arnaud.
Kapler had no problem with the late slide. The only adjustment he would have made was to have Crawford tuck his leg.
“We’re not all built the same way, so it’s hard for me to say that’s best way for Brandon Crawford or anybody else to slide into a base,” Kapler said. “I think he’s right. I think he got to the plate as fast as he possibly could exactly the way he did it. I think if he tucks and slides earlier, he’s probably out.”
The run proved crucial in a back-and-forth contest that wasn’t decided until the ninth inning. The Giants eventually prevailed 12-10, evening the four-game series at a game apiece.
- Luis González was a late scratch from the Giants’ lineup Wednesday with a tight back. Evan Longoria was slated to receive a day off, but he was inserted at third base. Wilmer Flores, originally slated to play third, slid over to second. Tommy La Stella, the original second baseman, moved to DH. And Darin Ruf, who was the DH, took González’s spot in the outfield.
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