The Giants placed outfielders Billy Hamilton and lefties Jarlin Garcia On the injured list, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters Thursday (Twitter link about Kerry Crowley from the San Jose Mercury News). Kapler could not help but acknowledge that the removals were for “medical purposes”.
Immediate speculation will focus on COVID-19, although it is certainly possible that one or even both may be dealing with other issues. Teams generally reveal details of injuries, but more general medical concerns that keep players off the pitch are often vague. It should also be noted that even if a player is placed on the COVID-19 IL, this does not necessarily indicate that they have tested positive. Players can bet on the IL after they have shown symptoms or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive. The exact circumstances of Hamilton and Garcia̵
Both Hamilton and Garcia are newcomers to the Giants organization. Hamilton, the long-time Reds Center Fielder, is one of the fastest players in baseball and brings a superlative glove to a team that plays in one of the game’s most cavernous stages (Oracle Park). He signed a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training in the off-season, but was generally expected to win a squad from the start.
The 29-year-old Hamilton fought with only 0.218 / 0.289 / 0.275 in 353 record appearances between the Royals and Braves last year, but was excellent on the field as always. Despite a career low of 826 innings in the field, Hamilton recorded eight saved defensive runs, an ultimate zone rating of 7.9 and seven above-average outs (per statcast).
Garcia, meanwhile, had exemptions in February. The 27-year-old was a surprise to the Marlins as he had an ERA of 3.02 in 50 2/3 frames in the previous season. Garcia’s peripheral numbers weren’t quite as pretty; It scored a FIP of 3.77 and an xFIP of 4.74, while averaging 6.9 K / 9 against 2.8 BB / 9. Garcia also benefited from an average of 0.248 in-game balls, although this corresponds exactly to his previous career brand. Even if a certain regression is pending across the board, it can be controlled for another four seasons. So it’s easy to see why the Giants were happy to take a risk-free plane on the south paw.