Robertson's throw 'huge' after Basabe exits

September 23rd, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants’ depleted outfield corps took another hit after rookie Luis Alexander Basabe exited Tuesday night’s 5-2 win over the Rockies in the third inning with a right hamstring strain.

Basabe started in right field, but he appeared to hurt himself while running to first base in his first at-bat of the night against Colorado lefty Kyle Freeland. Basabe walked off the field gingerly and met with head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner after returning to the Giants’ dugout. Manager Gabe Kapler said the 24-year-old prospect will undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury.

Darin Ruf replaced Basabe in right in the fourth, with Daniel Robertson shifting to left field and Brandon Crawford entering the game to play shortstop. Basabe’s injury left the Giants with three natural infielders -- Robertson, Mauricio Dubón and Ruf -- in the outfield, though Robertson delivered the defensive highlight of the night with an incredible throw in the seventh inning that helped shift the momentum in the Giants’ favor.

Robertson, who was making his first outfield appearance in two years, nailed Garrett Hampson at second base after the Rockies second baseman attempted to stretch a leadoff single into a double. Robertson’s first career outfield assist briefly preserved a one-run lead for the Giants, though Colorado later tied the game on an RBI double by Kevin Pillar.

Still, Alex Dickerson led off the bottom of the seventh with a pinch-hit, go-ahead homer that ignited the decisive three-run rally for the Giants.

“I think if you have to pinpoint one thing tonight, that throw by Robinson was huge,” left-hander Drew Smyly said. “It was a complete game-changer. ... The guy doesn’t even play outfield, and he comes out and hoses a guy at second. That was an awesome play, and he deserves a lot of credit for that, for just getting thrown out there. We’re a little bit light on the outfield right now, and he came up huge.”

The Giants are already without two of their best defensive outfielders, as Mike Yastrzemski is nursing a calf injury and Austin Slater hasn’t played defense since Aug. 11 because of an elbow issue. Dickerson is also banged up, as he’s dealing with a sore elbow after being hit by a pitch on Monday.

Kapler said the Giants would consider adding another outfielder to their 28-man roster ahead of Wednesday’s game, though he also provided an encouraging update on Yastrzemski, who took batting practice on the field and ran at 10 mph on a treadmill on Tuesday. Yastrzemski has missed the club’s last five games, but Kapler said there’s a chance he could be available off the bench against the Rockies on Wednesday.

“I'm not saying for sure, but that's at least the possibility,” Kapler said.

Basabe, who was acquired from the White Sox last month, has gone 2-for-14 with four walks in his first nine games with the Giants. He quickly made an impression with his plus speed, going 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts this year.