The game yesterday started auspiciously for LaMonte Wade Jr.; he scorched a double in the first inning and scored on two subsequent groundouts. But on the second of those groundouts, which allowed him to advance home from third, he reportedly felt pain in his knee and was taken out of the game shortly after.
He underwent an MRI, which revealed inflammation and a bone bruise, which is a less severe form of a fracture. This injury will cause him to rest for at least the next 10 days before being re-evaluated.
The Giants say LaMonte Wade Jr. had an MRI that revealed inflammation and a bone bruise. He'll be re-evaluated in 10 days, which knocks him out of opening day lineup, like with Evan Longoria.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 29, 2022
Obviously, this will cause him to miss Opening Day. With yesterday’s injury to Evan Longoria, the San Francisco Giants have now lost two of their projected starters, as Kapler said Sunday that Wade Jr. was likely to start in LF as long as Sandy Alcántara was starting for the Miami Marlins.
Gabe Kapler says if the season started today, the Giants’ starting OF vs. Marlins RHP and presumed opening day starter Sandy Alcantara would be Joc in RF, Yaz in CF and Wade in LF. You know what that means…— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) March 27, 2022
Perhaps this will give Austin Slater a chance to be the opening day left fielder again, which would finally break the Giants’ streak of having a different opening day LF every year (now at sixteen) since Barry Bonds last started in 2007.
Wade’s loss is a huge blow to the Giants lineup, as he posted a .253/.326/.482 slash last year with a 117 wRC+ (17% better than the average MLB player) and 1.6 WAR. Wade is especially famous for his performance in the clutch (“Late Night LaMonte”), posting an astonishing .600/.594/.967 line with a 313 wRC+ in high-leverage situations (30 ABs, as defined by Fangraphs).
The Giants still have Darin Ruf and Austin Slater as options to play around with, but Austin Slater has serious splits (141 wRC+ vs. LHP, 38 wRC+ vs. RHP), which might give him trouble against an elite RHP in Sandy Alcántara. The Giants do have two roster spots to temporarily fill; it’s likely that either one or both will be outfielders. Perhaps this will mean a call-up of Luke Williams, the OF/IF just acquired in a trade with the Phillies, as he is a RHB although he has reverse splits (103 wRC+ vs. LHP, 30 wRC+ vs. RHP in 2021). The Giants haven’t shown an inclination to call up Heliot Ramos yet, wanting to make sure he can prove himself against AAA pitching, but maybe this pushes the timetable on that (Ramos is a RHB, something they need after losing Longoria). This does make it more likely that Mauricio Dubón, otherwise battling Thairo Estrada for Donovan Solano’s old spot, will be on the Opening Day roster as he can play all three outfield positions in addition to second base.
Obviously, injury to any player at any time is a great loss, but it’s especially sad to lose players so close to Opening Day. Here’s to hoping both Longoria and Wade Jr. rest up and recover quickly so they can rejoin the team as soon as possible!