Longoria-Crawford collision extremely costly for Giants – NBC Sports Bay Area

The messy ninth inning on Saturday didn’t cost the Giants a win, but it will end up being quite costly in the long run.

A day after Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford collided in a mistake-filled frame, Longoria was placed on the Injured List with a left shoulder sprain, an injury that is expected to cost him four to six weeks. The Giants recalled infielder Thairo Estrada from Triple-A to take Longoria’s roster spot. 

Manager Gabe Kapler had a somber tone during his pre-game press conference, and it’s easy to see why. Longoria is one of the most indispensable players on the roster, a middle-of-the-order bat who is playing elite defense at third base and demolishing left-handed pitching in particular. Longoria is hitting .280/.376/.516 through 50 games, with nine homers. He has been worth 1.7 WAR already, and paces NL third baseman with a wRC+ of 146.

“It’s very difficult. It was an emotional time after the game, for Longo, for all of us,” Kapler said. “He was swinging the bat very well, he was very patient at the plate, playing great defense and one of the core pieces and leaders on this club. It’s going to be a major challenge to fill his shoes. I’m not sure we’re going to be able to have anybody step in and do what he was doing. At the same time, we have to turn the page and get ready to compete, and that’s what we’re going to do.” 

 

Kapler mentioned Wilmer Flores and Jason Vosler as initial options to fill in, with Estrada, who has been tearing up Triple-A, a possibility, as well. Mauricio Dubon is perhaps their best defensive backup at third and could help out, although on Sunday he started for Brandon Crawford, who was fine after the strange play, Kapler said. 

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The collision was between two of the sturdier position players on the roster. Longoria is listed at 6-foot-1 and 213 pounds and Crawford at 6-foot-1, 223 pounds. Both went down hard, but Crawford quickly got to his feet and started gathering himself, while Longoria rolled onto his back before getting checked by trainers. He came out of the game after the play.

Longoria, Crawford and Buster Posey are the Giants’ position players who are hardest to replace, and Kapler will now be without one for at least a month. In a season filled with major injury issues around the league, the Giants have been hit hard by strains that have cost key players a week or two at a time, but this will be their biggest challenge thus far. 

There was no sugarcoating this one, but Kapler knows he has a group that has enviable depth and has done a good job of moving on from injuries

“We’ll keep that next-man-up mentality,” Kapler said. 

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