Mike Yastrzemski hasn’t played a full baseball game in nine days. Last Thursday, the San Francisco Giants star outfielder suffered a mild calf strain, and exited the team’s win over the Seattle Mariners in the early innings.
He was out for a week before returning for the Giants deflating loss to the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, but just in a pinch-hit role.
Now he’s actually back. As the Giants prepare to end the regular season with a critical four-game series against the San Diego Padres, Yastrzemski has returned in full. He’ll start Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader, and not just as a designated hitter; he’s playing in the outfield, too.
Mike Yastrzemski is leading off and playing right field today.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) September 25, 2020
If the Giants are going to make the postseason, they’ll need to do well against the Padres. And seeing as how the Padres are one of the top teams in baseball, that will require a lot of Giants contributing.
Having Yastrzemski — the team’s most valuable player this season by Wins Above Replacement — back is a huge part of that.
The Giants also get to add a 29th player to the roster for the doubleheader, per MLB rules. They have not yet announced who that player will be, though a pitcher seems likely, and it could definitely be Jeff Samardzija.
They have announced that Tyler Anderson will start the first game of the doubleheader, though the Game 2 starter is currently a mystery. And it’s unclear if Yastrzemski will be able to play the second game, or just the first.
Either way, Yaz is back. He’s a huge part of why the Giants are in position to make a run at the postseason, so it’s only fitting that he be a part of the conclusion.