Winn (forearm) part of latest wave of Giants injuries

May 15th, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are struggling to stay afloat after being engulfed in an unrelenting wave of injuries this month.

Tuesday alone brought several new concerning developments: Jung Hoo Lee is expected to seek a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Thursday after an MRI exam revealed structural damage in his dislocated left shoulder; Patrick Bailey returned to the seven-day concussion list after he was unable to shake off lingering cold-like symptoms; and Jorge Soler cut short his pregame batting practice session after he fouled off a ball that ricocheted off the top of the cage and hit him on the head.

That was all before the Giants lost starter to right forearm tightness, further intensifying the sting of a 10-2 shellacking at the hands of the rival Dodgers at Oracle Park.

Winn surrendered five runs over four-plus innings and began to display a dip in velocity in the fifth, when he faced two batters before walking off the mound accompanied by team trainer Dave Groeschner. Winn’s final pitches came in at 92-93 mph, down from 96-97 mph earlier in the game.

The 26-year-old right-hander will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury, but he said he doesn’t believe the issue is serious and feels he may have just been dealing with some fatigue after needing 39 pitches to get through a four-run fourth that began with Shohei Ohtani’s no-doubt, 446-foot blast out to right-center field.

“I’m not overly concerned,” Winn said. “Honestly, it feels like a cramp right now, so I’m not super concerned about it.”

Still, the Giants will likely want to tread carefully with Winn, who has now allowed 17 earned runs over 8 1/3 innings over his last three starts, causing his ERA to jump from 3.18 to 6.17 on the season. Winn also dealt with right elbow soreness during Spring Training, though he said this latest arm issue feels unrelated to that injury.

If Winn needs to miss time, the Giants could recall No. 7 prospect Mason Black, who was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday after giving up six runs over 8 2/3 innings (6.23 ERA) over his first two career starts in the big leagues.

The shorthanded Giants (19-25) ultimately couldn’t match the full might of the Dodgers (29-15), who pulled 10 games ahead of San Francisco in the National League West standings after improving to 5-0 in the season series between the division foes.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of turnover at this point in time and we don’t have our main guys out there, but we’ve just got to keep fighting and not let it crater a little bit,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve got to hang in there and win some games and start getting some guys back.”

The first to return could be Soler, who is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Sacramento on Wednesday after his BP scare on Tuesday. The Giants will have to weather at least another week without Bailey, who will be missed not only for his production, but also for his Gold Glove-caliber defense behind the plate.

Blake Sabol has caught each of the Giants’ last three games, but he remains raw defensively and nearly cost Winn a run in the third, when he made an errant throw that sailed into center field and allowed James Outman to advance to third after he successfully stole second. Sabol ended up being bailed out by third baseman Matt Chapman, who snared Mookie Betts’ bouncer to the left side and turned an impressive 5-3 double play to end the inning.

The Giants are already feeling Lee’s absence in center field as well. Luis Matos is expected to get a long look there while Lee is out, but the 22-year-old Venezuelan has already made some mistakes in the middle of the diamond, including misplaying a fly ball off the bat of Freddie Freeman in the first inning on Tuesday.

Freeman’s drive to the warning track in left field had a catch probability of 99 percent, but Matos appeared to miscommunicate with left fielder Heliot Ramos, allowing the ball to fall for a two-out error. Freeman reached third base on the play, though Winn managed to leave him stranded by coaxing an inning-ending groundout from Will Smith.

Matos also couldn’t run down Teoscar Hernández’s two-run triple into the right-center-field gap in the top of the ninth, allowing the Dodgers to cap a four-run outburst against rookie reliever Nick Avila.