The San Francisco Giants roster is going to be compromised for the start of the season, which is never the news you want to hear. On Monday it was reported that third baseman Evan Longoria will undergo surgery on his right index finger on Tuesday.
There’s no timeline yet for his return, but the finger will be immobilized until at least Opening Day on April 8.
The Giants say Evan Longoria will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair a ligament in his right index finger. His prognosis will be determined following surgery but the expectation is the finger will be immobilized for at least 10 days. A blow to a lineup that needs his RH bat.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 29, 2022
Longoria had yet to appear in a Spring Training game as he dealt with the lingering finger injury. The Giants were obviously optimistic that he’d be able to recover without surgery, or they wouldn’t have waited this long into camp to move forward with the procedure.
It’s a rather big blow to the offense, which is sorely lacking in right-handed hitters. Longoria had an .833 OPS last season, including 1.088 against left-handed pitchers, which made him one of the best hitters in baseball against lefties. With Longo out, the Giants will likely have to turn to Thairo Estrada (.813 OPS, .682 vs. lefties) or Mauricio Dubón (.655 OPS, .728 vs. lefties).
We may see a lot of Jason Vosler to start the year, as he remains the team’s only left-handed option at third. But Vosler struggled in his debut season in 2021, where he had just a .612 OPS. Despite the handedness advantage, he had just a .583 OPS against righties, compared to the .739 mark set by Longoria. So the Giants are losing their best third baseman regardless of who is on the mound.
Right now the only right-handed hitters who are locks to make the Opening Day roster are Austin Slater and Darin Ruf (who mash lefties), Wilmer Flores (who does well but not great vs. lefties), Curt Casali and one of Estrada/Dubón (meh vs. lefties), and Joey Bart (unknown).
We could see the offense struggle a bit when southpaws are on the mound. Longoria’s return won’t single-handedly fix that, but let’s hope he’s back sooner rather than later.