Yaz 'seems OK' after HBP; Webb shines 

March 30th, 2021

The Giants suffered another injury scare during Monday’s 7-2 win over the A’s, as right fielder exited the club’s exhibition finale after being struck on the left hand by a pitch from left-hander Sean Manaea in the third inning.

Yastrzemski couldn’t hold up his swing and ended up striking out to start the third, but head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner immediately sprinted out onto the field to check on the 30-year-old slugger. Yastrzemski returned to the dugout at Hohokam Stadium and gathered his equipment before heading back to Scottsdale, Ariz., where he had his hand examined.

X-rays were negative, and the team listed him as day to day with a contusion.

“I didn’t actually didn't see it, but I think from what I’ve heard it sounded a lot worse than what it is,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “It seems to be OK, he is moving his fingers around OK. I don’t want to speak too soon, but he seems like he’s all right.”

Yastrzemski, who placed eighth in National League MVP voting after emerging as the Giants’ best everyday player last season, ended his spring batting .300 and tied for the team lead with four home runs. He’ll have two days off before the Giants kick off the 2021 regular season in Seattle on Thursday.

Monday marked the second consecutive game in which the Giants saw one of their regular position players exit early due to a hit-by-pitch. Infielder Tommy La Stella also departed Sunday’s game against the A’s after being hit on the left knee, but he returned to action as a pinch-hitter on Monday and singled off right-hander Trevor Rosenthal in the fifth. Manager Gabe Kapler had Arismendy Alcántara pinch-run for La Stella, though he said La Stella would have stayed in had it been a regular-season game.

The left-handed-hitting La Stella is unlikely to be in the starting lineup for the Giants on Opening Day, as lefty Marco Gonzales is scheduled to start for the Mariners.

“It was really nice to get him a pinch-hit at-bat and pick a spot for a righty, which is something you might see during the regular season,” Kapler said.

Webb continues to shine

Right-hander capped his brilliant spring by firing six innings of one-run ball against the A’s on Monday. The 24-year-old extended his scoreless streak to 15 innings before giving up his first run of the spring in the fifth, when Sean Murphy doubled and pinch-runner Jacob Wilson came around to score on a wild pitch.

“I wasn’t thinking too much about that,” Webb said. “It was more getting through my six innings, staying strong, getting my pitch count up a little bit. I was able to do that, so overall, I’m pretty happy with it.”

Webb will depart Arizona with a 0.53 ERA after allowing only one run on seven hits while walking two and striking out 22 over 17 innings in exhibition play. He was easily the most impressive starter in camp, a remarkable feat considering he wasn’t viewed as a lock for the Opening Day roster at the start of Spring Training.

“I think one guy that stood out to me because I played behind him a few times, but Webb looked really good all spring,” Crawford said. “His offspeed was working really well, he was throwing a lot of strikes.”

Kapler didn’t rule out the possibility that Webb could open the season in the Minors after the Giants signed Aaron Sanchez as a fifth-starter candidate last month, but Webb has proved that he deserves a chance to cement a regular spot in the rotation this year. Webb is expected to start the Giants’ third game of the season in Seattle on Saturday and will follow veteran right-handers Kevin Gausman and Johnny Cueto.

Anthony DeSclafani and Sanchez are expected to round out the Giants’ rotation, as Alex Wood is likely to open the season on the injured list after undergoing an ablation procedure to treat stiffness in his back.

“I think it’s interesting that, going back to the beginning of camp, there was the possibility that even if Webb had a great spring, he might not be on our Opening Day roster based on a healthy rotation that included a performing Sanchez and Wood,” Kapler said. “It would be interesting to see what would have happened if he did what he did in this camp and everybody was healthy because he was just so good and so consistent and made all the adjustments we asked him to make this offseason. He certainly had as good a camp as any pitcher we have and probably the best camp of anybody on our roster.”