As ugly as Tuesday night's loss was -- and given the quality of their opponent, this might have been the flattest game of the year -- the Giants' big concern had nothing to do with the standings.
Mike Yastrzemski, their best overall player the last two seasons, came out in the fourth inning after jamming his thumb while attempting to make a highlight catch for left-hander Alex Wood. Yastrzemski slammed against the padding up against the brick wall and went back to the clubhouse in the midst of an 8-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Oracle Park.
The Giants got good news from the initial X-ray, which didn't show a fracture. They said Yastrzemski has a sprained right thumb and they will reevaluate him Wednesday, when the team has a much-needed day off.
Yastrzemski's glove hand hit the bricks as the ball ricocheted back toward the infield. He immediately started checking on his hand, and throughout the rest of the five-run frame he could be seen wincing and shaking his right hand. Trainer Dave Groeschner took Yastrzemski out of the game after the Angels had done all their damage.
"I think he's always going to be frustrated when he has to come out of a game," manager Gabe Kapler said. "One thing we've seen with Mike for a long time is he's going to sacrifice his body for our team. He'll throw his body into the stands to catch a foul ball, or like we saw in LA out in right field, he tried to take away a home run. Today I thought he just nearly made a tremendous play on that ball -- really good timing up against the wall, he just missed it.
"I thought he played it perfectly and I respect the way he plays the game. It's definitely always going to be frustrating when a player of his caliber but also of his grit is needing to come out of the game."
Kapler didn't have much info about Yastrzemski after the game, although the Giants appear to have escaped the worst potential outcomes. Regardless, this is another bad break for a player who has been unable to fully get into gear because of lingering injuries.
Yastrzemski was hit on his left hand at the end of the spring and that led to a slow start at the plate. As he was starting to get going, the Giants placed him on the IL with an oblique strain. Yastrzemski has a .787 OPS when on the field, and Kapler has consistently used him in one of the top three spots of the lineup.
The Giants have a tough test coming up and could use good news on both Yastrzemski and third baseman Evan Longoria, who is day-to-day with a side strain. They host the Chicago Cubs after the off day in what is currently a battle of first-place clubs. Kapler was hopeful he would get good news on his key bats before Thursday's game.
"For any number of reasons, including Yaz's injury, including Longo needing to be removed from the game yesterday, the off day is coming at a good time for us," he said. "It's always nice to be able to get a blow at home. More recently we've had to travel on off days, so it's going to be nice for the guys to get a little bit of a rest."