Solano returns from IL: 'He's ready to go'

May 19th, 2021

San Francisco’s high-powered offense just got one Silver Slugger-sized boost.

Second baseman , who hasn’t played since April 21, was reinstated from the 10-day IL and slotted to hit sixth on Wednesday, the club announced.

Solano was originally scheduled to play nine innings for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday, but instead traveled to Cincinnati to join the big league club.

“My perspective is generally [that] if a player is ready to play nine innings in a Minor League game, that means that we consider them safe and healthy enough to play a nine-inning game for us,” said manager Gabe Kapler. “So, that’s how we’re viewing this as he’s prepared to play nine innings for us.

“We obviously connected with Solano, went over this with him. We have a plan in place to make sure we don’t overdo it with him in the first couple of games, but he’s ready to go.”

While the Giants are getting one second baseman back, they’re temporarily losing another as Wilmer Flores was placed on the 10-day IL with a right hamstring strain.

Flores appeared to sustain the injury when going from first to third in the second inning of Tuesday’s 4-2 win on a double, being removed from the game after an evaluation by third-base coach Ron Wotus and head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner. Kapler said the team is optimistic that Flores’ strain is mild and that his injury will be on the short-term side. 

With Flores and utility man Tommy La Stella (left hamstring strain) on the 10 and 60-day IL, respectively, Solano will re-assume the role of starting second baseman with the Giants hoping he can provide much-needed production out of that position.  

During Solano’s stint on the injured list, San Francisco’s second basemen had a combined .677 OPS. Still, San Francisco’s offense kept chugging along; in 24 games without “Donnie Barrels,” the Giants have a 107 wRC+, the eighth-best figure in the Major Leagues during that stretch.

Prior to hitting the injured list, Solano slashed .300/.333/.380 with a 100 wRC+ across 54 plate appearances.

Crawford gets a rest 
Shortstop Brandon Crawford, who has been far and away the Giants’ hottest bat in May, received a scheduled off-day on Wednesday, a proactive effort to help ensure the veteran remains healthy. 

The decision to sit Crawford, who appeared in 13 consecutive games prior to Wednesday, is a tough one given how well he’s been swinging. This month, Crawford is slashing .325/.429/.800 with an eye-popping six home runs.  

With a home run on Tuesday, Crawford became the first Giant to have 10 home runs in his first 36 games of the season since Barry Bonds, who had 11 in 2007. 

“Yeah, it’s a challenge, particularly given the season that Craw is having and how good he’s been on defense for us,” Kapler said. “He’s really just contributed in so many different ways.”

Given San Francisco’s numerous veterans, as well as the rampant rise in soft-tissue injuries around the league, Kapler is well aware of the increased importance of managing player health. 

“I talked to [Crawford] yesterday and I explained to him that his long-term health and well-being is really important and this is really just about getting him a blow, a rest,” Kapler said. “I’ve just been thinking more and more about our veteran players. Between Flores and Solano and [Evan] Longoria and [Brandon] Belt, these guys are all experienced veteran players, so we have to be cognizant of getting them off their feet from time to time.” 

Worth quoting
“I’ve had some good conversations with J.P. Martinez about him, who has some exposure to him. I actually touched base with Zack Littell, who was teammates with him. Kind of a lower arm slot guy, a guy that has historically had some success and thrown some strikes. We wanted to see what we had in him, and I’m interested to see how he does for us.” -- Kapler on Trevor Hildenberger, who was claimed by the Giants from the Mets on Tuesday