If it ain’t broke, don’t fracture it.
So, this happened – Pablo Sandoval hurt his other hamate bone and will now go on the disabled list for an extended period of time. It’s worth noting that he missed 41 games and six weeks of baseball last season recovering from a broken hamate bone on his right hand; this time it’s his left hand that’s injured.
This type of injury is notorious for sapping a player’s power, but Sandoval actually came back from the injury quite well last year. Pre-2011 injury, Sandoval batted .313/.374/.530 (.217 ISO) in 24 games; post-injury he batted .315/.353/.557 (.242 ISO) in 93 games. So while losing Sandoval is a huge gut-punch, he does have some precedent of successfully coming back from this injury-type. That is your small silver lining. Take it with you, hold it close, and whisper comforting words into its ears.
The bad news that you already know: the offense is taking a big hit with the loss of Sandoval. He was the second best hitter on the team – only Posey’s wOBA and wRC+ scores are higher – and the drop-off from Posey-Sandoval is huge. Angel Pagan has started to recover from his early season funk, and Melky Caberara has been a welcome addition, but neither can be considered above-average to elite hitters like Sandoval.
The corresponding move is that the Giants have called up Conor Gillaspie from AAA Fresno. He’s starting today at third base and hitting second. Gillaspie is kind of a poor man’s Bill Mueller in that he offers some contact-ability mixed with a non-aversion to walks that, quite frankly, is refreshing for a young Giants hitter. He doesn’t offer much power, meaning that he doesn’t fit the classic mold of a third baseman. And, by most accounts, Gillaspie’s defense isn’t good, which makes him quite unlike Bill Mueller. For the record, I’m somewhat of a Conor fan – this video has a lot to do with it – and it’s looking like he’ll get most of the starts at third … for now.
He, of course, is no Pablo Sandoval. I’m not sure anyone is, really.