Joey Bart’s tough start to 2023 just got a little bit tough. On Sunday morning, just two games into the season, the San Francisco Giants placed Bart on the 10-day Injured List (retroactive to March 31) due to a mild back strain. Right-handed pitcher Sean Hjelle has been called up to take Bart’s spot on the roster.
According to the Giants beat reporters, the back strain is very mild, and Bart isn’t expected to miss very much time. So expect him to be back when the 10 days are up.
With Bart sidelined, rookie Blake Sabol — who has started the first two games of the season in left field — is now the only backup catcher, and will start Sunday’s series finale against the New York Yankees behind the plate. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has already publicly stated that Sabol, who only recently has started converting to catcher, will need to be able to hold down the position if he wants to keep his roster spot long-term.
Bart’s injury, while certainly not his fault, is another thing that puts his Giants future in doubt. It’s been a damning opening weekend for the 2018 first-round pick, after Roberto Pérez got the Opening Day start and then the Giants signed former All-Star Gary Sánchez to a Minor League deal that has an opt out on May 1.
And it’s an early return to the roster for Hjelle, who looked in line to make the Opening Day roster before some last-minute moves. The Giants have been open about how big of a role Hjelle will play throughout the season, and that starts now.