Giants center fielder Lee (dislocated left shoulder) placed on IL

May 14th, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants saw their biggest free-agent addition land on the injured list on Monday, when was shelved with a left shoulder dislocation prior to the club’s series opener against the Dodgers at Oracle Park.

Lee, who joined San Francisco on a six-year, $113 million deal over the offseason, got hurt after slamming into the center-field fence while attempting to make a catch in the first inning of a 6-5 walk-off win over the Reds on Sunday.

The 25-year-old rookie was due to meet with team doctors later in the evening to review the results of his MRI exam and get a better sense of his outlook, but the Giants are expecting to be without their starting center fielder for a while.

“It takes a little while to kind of process this,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s very team-oriented and wants to be out there for this team and, therefore, is disappointed. But there’s not much you can do about it. You make an all-out effort like that to catch a ball in the first inning -- you make that play, and it’s a huge momentum swing. And now, all of a sudden, our center fielder is down. We had to recover from that a little bit. But I’m sure he’s feeling it right now. He wants to be out there for his team.”

Lee joins a long list of Giants position players on the IL, but he’ll likely be the most difficult to replace, as the club was counting on the former KBO star to serve as their everyday leadoff hitter and help stabilize their defense up the middle this season. With Lee down, the Giants will lean on to fill their void in center, though Tyler Fitzgerald and Mike Yastrzemski will be candidates to play there as well.

“Look, we have some other options now, and that’s what we need to concentrate on,” Melvin said. “There are a lot of holes that we have right now, with a lot of the guys going down. But it creates an opportunity for somebody else. Matos is going to get a pretty good shot out there. As we saw in Spring Training, there’s a lot to like.”

Matos, 22, emerged as the Giants’ most impressive hitter during Cactus League play, but he struggled to carry that success over to the Minors, batting only .218 with a .663 OPS and three home runs over 31 games with Triple-A Sacramento. Joining Matos in an everyday role will be , who is likely to get the bulk of the reps in left field following the injuries to Michael Conforto (right hamstring strain) and Austin Slater (concussion).

The Giants have exhausted virtually all of their outfield options on the 40-man roster, as No. 16 prospect Wade Meckler hasn’t played in a Minor League game this year due to a wrist issue. Blake Sabol could also see more time in the outfield, but he made his second consecutive start behind the plate on Monday after Patrick Bailey continued to experience some cold-like symptoms.

Bailey returned from the IL on Saturday, so the Giants are trying to determine if he’s dealing with a head cold or some lingering effects from his concussion.

“We’re trying to distinguish and be very careful on how we feel about him right now,” Melvin said. “So he’s going to see the doctors a little bit later, too.”

Given Bailey’s uncertain status, the Giants called up catcher Jakson Reetz from Triple-A to take Lee’s spot on the 26-man roster on Monday.