SF Giants’ catching depth to be tested after Curt Casali strains oblique

PHOENIX — The Giants’ thin catching depth took a hit Monday against the Diamondbacks when Curt Casali left the game with an apparent torso injury.

Casali, who has split catching duties with Austin Wynns since Joey Bart was demoted to Triple-A, winced and grabbed his right side after checked his swing on the 11th pitch of his at-bat in the sixth inning against Arizona reliever Sean Poppen.

After the game — an 8-3 loss, their fifth straight and 11th in their past 14 — the Giants announced Casali had strained his right oblique. He will receive an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity, but oblique strains often mean a lengthy stint on the injured list. Steven Duggar was placed on the 60-day IL after he strained his oblique in April.

The Giants’ catching depth is already being tested without getting contributions from Bart at the major-league level.

After a brief consultation with manager Gabe Kapler and head trainer Dave Groeschner, Casali was removed from the game. Wynns stepped in to complete the at-bat — reaching on an infield single — and remained in the game to catch.

Wynns, who could pick up the majority of the playing time behind the plate if Casali is forced to the injured list, was only acquired in a trade a month ago, shortly preceding the news of Bart’s demotion.

Bart, however, could be an option if Casali is headed to the IL as expected, manager Gabe Kapler said.

Bart has been overhauling his swing and approach at Triple-A Sacramento after striking out in 45% of his at-bats with the Giants to start the season. But he is still the best internal option.

The Giants already cut ties with the other catcher they brought in earlier this season, Michael Papierski. Papierski, who was acquired from Houston for Maurico Dubón, was claimed on waivers late last month by Cincinnati.

Recently acquired first baseman/designated hitter Yermín Mercedes can catch — he donned the tools of ignorance for the first time as a Giant for the ninth inning of Sunday’s blowout loss — he’s rarely been asked to, likely for a reason.

Kapler said he would consider putting Mercedes behind the plate in case of an emergency.

Contributed by local news sources

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