March 23, 2023

Austin Slater Suffers Strained Hamstring

Giants outfielder Austin Slater has suffered a strained hamstring, manager Gabe Kapler told reporters, including Evan Webeck of Mercury News. It’s not known yet how this injury affects Slater’s status for Opening Day, now just 12 days away. Slater’s injury is another blow to the Giants’ outfield depth chart, with Mitch Haniger already recovering from an oblique strain and in doubt for Opening Day himself.

Haniger and Slater have not been officially ruled out of Opening Day, so it remains possible that both could feature. Yet should both miss time, the team’s depth in the outfield would take a bit of a hit. Joc Pederson, Michael Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski would likely line up as the starting three outfielders, likely opening up the DH spot for another option, such as J.D. Davis.

This development could also open the door for non-roster invitee Stephen Piscotty to make the team out of camp as a bench outfielder. The former Athletic and Cardinal has had a solid spring, slashing .333/.391/.476 going into Saturday’s games. It’s been a few seasons since he was an above-average MLB player, but he could give the Giants a solid veteran option until Slater and/or Haniger return. Rule 5 pick Blake Sabol might’ve been another option for the Giants as he spent time in the outfield in the minors, but it’s been reported that they view him as strictly a catcher.

Slater, 30, slashed .264/.366/.408 with seven home runs for the Giants last season. He appeared in 125 games last season, largely handling center field but also spending time in the corners. The signings of Conforto and Haniger looked set to relegate him to a bench role this season, but the latter’s oblique strain had initially made him a good chance to start on Opening Day.

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