Giants

Bobby Evans opens up on Giants’ concussion issues this season

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AP

Bobby Evans opens up on Giants’ concussion issues this season

The injury bug has taken one unpredictable bite out of the Giants' 2017 season. Recently, they have been hit hard by concussions, both in the big leagues and with their top draft pick. 

San Francisco is currently without the right side of its infield in Brandon Belt and Joe Panik as they sit on the 7-day concussion DL. Heliot Ramos, who the Giants took No. 19 overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, is the latest to take a hit to the head

Ramos, 17, was hit by a pitch Sunday night in the Arizona Rookie League.

Giants GM Bobby Evans was asked in an interview with The Athletic Wednesday how the recent uptick in concussions have changed how the team handles the injury. 

I think the concern continues around the game and around all of sports. We are very much aware of the risks associated with not allowing a player to fully recover from one.

We want to make sure in every form that we get guys healthy and that they aren’t playing again until they are ready to go. That takes patience on our part, but I applaud the work of baseball to protect the player and obviously appreciate the diligence of what our medical staff does to continue to monitor even the smallest sign of a concussion.

Belt has now sustained four concussions in his career between college and pro ball. His return to the team this season is still up in the air. Panik, who was also concussed last season after getting hit in the head by now-teammate Matt Moore, played in his first rehab game Tuesday night with the Sacramento River Cats.

Along with Ramos, who was hitting .348 with six home runs at the time of his injury, top picks Jacob Gonzalez and Aaron Bond have impressed Evans with their play in the Rookie League. 

It’s tough to come into a league like that and hit for average and contribute the way that they have. They’ve put themselves in a very good position to start their careers. We are proud of them and are hopeful that we can continue to see more from them as they progress through the system.

Their regular season will end here shortly and then they will go into at some point an Instructional League and then move on to an offseason before they come in next spring. I think they’ve got to be very proud of what they have accomplished this season.

Mayor London Breed clears way for Giants' June return to Oracle Park

Mayor London Breed clears way for Giants' June return to Oracle Park

The Giants expect the construction of their new bullpens to be finished in the next week or so. It might not be much longer before players are allowed to throw off the mounds. 

San Francisco mayor London Breed outlined new reopening rules on Thursday afternoon, and there was good news for professional sports teams. As part of a phase that will go into effect before June 15, professional sports teams can practice in the city of San Francisco with an approved plan. The city is targeting June 15 for the next phase, which states in part, "Professional sports games, tournaments and other entertainment venues allowed with no spectators with approved plans."

The players and owners are still far apart in negotiations, but if they can strike a deal that gets baseball back in July -- the target is to get games back by the July 4 holiday -- the Giants will be cleared to come home. Internally, they are still discussing the next steps and what a Spring Training 2.0 might look like. They're trying to decide between training at Scottsdale Stadium and doing so at Oracle Park, and the current lean is said to be returning to San Francisco.

It's not quite that easy, of course. The Giants would have to make significant changes to the structure at Oracle Park, expanding clubhouse space and finding new areas within the ballpark's footprint to train while following social distancing rules. They're hashing all of that now, and while they were never all that concerned about the restrictions in San Francisco, it certainly is a sigh of relief that the city is officially moving forward with reopening plans. 

[RELATED: Field to Table: How to make Oracle Park-style garlic fries]

The Giants have quietly reopened one of their other facilities in the meantime. Players who remained in the Scottsdale area have been allowed to work out at the ballpark there, although social distancing is practiced and there are limits on how many people can be in the building at one time. The vast majority of the team remains spread out across the country. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

How Giants fans' support impressed Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon

How Giants fans' support impressed Mike Yastrzemski, Mauricio Dubon

Mike Yastrzemski and Mauricio Dubon entered this season as two of the more popular Giants, but a year ago at this time they were in extremely different situations. Yastrzemski was just getting his feet wet in his first week in the big leagues. Dubon was playing in Triple-A for the Milwaukee Brewers. 

They both got shots to grab a starting role later in the 2019 season with the Giants, and both did enough that they were going to be in Gabe Kapler's Opening Day lineup, possibly right at the top. Life changed quickly for Yastrzemski and Dubon, and on this week's episode of "Chalk Talk at Home," they talked about how far they've come. Both said interactions with the Giants fan base stood out early in their big league careers. 

"I struck out my first at-bat and they were still cheering for me walking back," Yastrzemski  "You don't get that too often, where it's a big market, big city with a huge history of winning, and usually fans demand excellence. The fans are so great out there that they're just exited for somebody to get an opportunity to come help the team and they're going to support you."

Dubon came along three months later, but he already knew all about Oracle Park's supportive fan. He grew up as one after moving to Honduras to Sacramento as a teenager. Still, Dubon found himself surprised by early interactions. 

"I was just trying to play baseball and the next thing I know I'm walking down the streets going to the field and a lot of people are honking in the car and saying hi to me, and I had no idea how they recognized me," he said. "It's pretty amazing how the Giants fans are."

Last year's rookie breakouts are training in Nashville and Miami, respectively, and both hope to be back at Oracle Park soon. MLB is angling for a July return, although there are plenty of hurdles. Whenever the sport resumes, it'll do so without fans, which might not be the adjustment you would expect.

Yastrzemski said he's able to get so focused at the plate that he never hears any noise anyway. The outfield may get weird, though. 

"You're used to having to like try and scream at the guy next to you to try and get his attention," he said. "You can whisper now."

[RELATED: Learn how to make Oracle Park's garlic fries]

Yastrzemski said it's going to be interesting to see how guys react, because some really feed off the energy coming from the seats. Dubon certainly qualifies as one of those players, and he said the empty stadium "is going to be weird."

"I'm a guy that feeds off that," he said. "I've just got to get used to it, I've just got to get used to not having anybody. I played in rookie ball here in Florida with literally nobody and it's going to be pretty much like that with the best players in the world."

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]