Basabe hurt himself while running down to first base in the third inning of Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Rockies, leaving the Giants with three natural infielders -- Daniel Robertson, Mauricio Dubón and Darin Ruf -- in the outfield for the remainder of the game.
The Giants’ outfield mix was upended over the last week by the injuries to Mike Yastrzemski (calf) and Austin Slater (elbow) and the absence of Alex Dickerson, who missed two games while on paternity leave. The void helped Basabe earn playing time with the Giants, but that opportunity will now fall to Duggar, another speedy outfielder who is known for his defense.
Duggar, who is only 3-for-28 with 10 strikeouts over 16 games this year, started in right field and batted ninth against Rockies right-hander Ryan Castellani on Wednesday. The Giants are slated to face a string of righties down the stretch, which helped give the left-handed-hitting Duggar an edge over outfield prospect Jaylin Davis.
Davis, 26, earned a spot on the Giants’ Opening Day roster, but he was sent down to the alternate training site after going 2-for-12 with one home run and six strikeouts over four games. While the Giants raved about his power and offensive ceiling during Spring Training and Summer Camp, Davis never received another look in the Majors.
Manager Gabe Kapler said the organization believes that Davis, the team's No. 13 prospect, needs to cut down on his swing-and-miss tendencies before he’s ready for an extended audition with the Giants.
“He's making more contact, and that contact has been hard,” Kapler said. “There's still quite a bit of swing-and-miss in the strike zone at the alternate site. That continues to give us pause, and it’s an adjustment that Jaylin needs to make if he's going to be a successful Major League hitter. In addition, we think that Duggar is right now the superior defender.”
Acquired from the Twins as part of the Sam Dyson deal at last year’s Trade Deadline, Davis batted .306 with a .987 OPS and 35 home runs over 126 Minor League games in 2019. Kapler said the Giants still believe Davis has the necessary tools to develop into an impact outfielder, but it’s now incumbent on him to prove that he can make enough contact to reach his potential.
“Jaylin’s engine is so good,” Kapler said. “He's such a talented athlete that if he's able to make an adjustment like this, he immediately becomes a successful Major Leaguer. It's not about hitting the ball hard. It's not about speed or throwing arm or any specific tool. It's actually very simply put about making more consistent contact. We will continue to view Jaylin as an option because the tools are so strong. He's such a high-character guy, and we really do want him and are looking for that outcome.”
Basabe is expected to miss three to four weeks with the hamstring injury, so he won’t be an option for the remainder of the regular season, but Kapler said the 24-year-old Venezuelan impressed in his brief stint in the big leagues.
“We enjoyed having him in the lineup,” Kapler said. “He gave our team a different dynamic and one that we hadn't had previously. A switch-hitter that runs well and plays all three outfield positions at a plus level is really a unique tool for us. He’s an incredibly strong, positive personality. The clubhouse really loved him, as did the dugout.”