SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants lost more than the series opener to the Marlins on Monday evening. Closer Hunter Strickland will be sidelined for at least six to eight weeks with a fractured right pinkie finger.After leaving the field following his fourth blown save of the season, Strickland punched a
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants lost more than the series opener to the Marlins on Monday evening. Closer Hunter Strickland will be sidelined for at least six to eight weeks with a fractured right pinkie finger.
After leaving the field following his fourth blown save of the season, Strickland punched a door in frustration with his pitching hand, according to manager Bruce Bochy. On his way to the dugout, Strickland had exchanged words with Marlins rookie Lewis Brinson, who slashed the game-tying single.
Bochy did not hear about the incident until he got home from the 5-4 loss, but said he was "crushed" and 'thoroughly disappointed" when he found out.
"You have to be able to control your emotions," Bochy said. "I talk about this so much, how important it is for players, in particular the closer, to have emotional control. We all get frustrated and that was a tough, gut-wrenching loss which I'm sure he felt full responsibility for."
Bochy spoke highly of Strickland's growth on and off the mound this season. The right-hander heads to the disabled list with a 2.84 ERA and 13 saves in 17 opportunities this season.
"This guy has grown as a pitcher and a person," Bochy said. "I know Hunter cares deeply. And he let his emotions get away from him after the game and had a temporary snap."
The Giants will turn to Tony Watson (30 career saves) or Sam Dyson (55 career saves) to close out games. Bochy said one of the two will receive "the lion's share" of save opportunities but, having not told the pitchers yet, did not disclose which one will assume the closer role.
Watson became the Pirates' closer in August of the 2016 season, notching 15 saves in 18 opportunities in the final two months of the campaign. He opened as the closer in 2017 before a string of four consecutive blown saves in early June relegated the lefty to a setup role.
Dyson was dominant as the Rangers' closer in 2016 but lost the job and was traded to San Francisco after an abysmal start to the 2017 season. He proceeded to save 14 of 17 opportunities with a 4.03 ERA for the Giants.
Strickland posted an apology for the incident on Instagram before Tuesday's game that read, in part: "To my family, my teammates, my coaches, this organization, and our fan base, I am truly sorry that one split second, stupid decision has caused so much harm and now set me back from being out there with my team to pursue our goal."
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Life has an interesting and sometimes disappointing way of opening up our eyes. Words cannot describe the amount of regret and sorrow I have for my actions. I have let down the ones that care and mean the most, as well as the ones that count on me day in and day out. To my family, my teammates, my coaches, this organization, and our fan base, I am truly sorry that one split second, stupid decision has caused so much harm and now set me back from being out there with my team to pursue our goal. As well as providing for my family. I own all responsibilities and consequences because these were no ones actions but myself. I will work hard to get back with the guys and help contribute to some more wins. This is our life, and we take pride in what we do, so when we fail it hurts. But that is by no means an excuse because every action has a reaction- which is what I’m seeing now. I’ve made a mistake and regret it, but I will not give up and will learn from this! I completely understand how this portrays my character, which I will humbly work on areas in my life that need refinement. I sincerely didn’t do this out of selfishness, but simply because I let down the ones that count on me most and my emotions got the best of me in that moment. So again, I’m sorry, and now I have to move forward.
In a corresponding move with Strickland's DL stint, the Giants recalled rookie right-hander Pierce Johnson from Triple-A Sacramento. Johnson has a 5.46 ERA through 31 1/3 frames in the Majors this season.
Good news on Longoria, Cueto
Bochy said "all went well" in the surgery to repair Evan Longoria's broken hand, and the third baseman is heading to Arizona. He'll be in a cast for a couple of days and rejoin the team in San Francisco on Friday or Saturday to begin rehab.
After throwing a two-inning simulated game Monday, Johnny Cueto is doing well and likely will not need another simulation.
"I think right now the plan is to pitch him in a [Minor League rehab] game but we're still holding off on that," Bochy said.
Martin Oppegaard is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.