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González to miss start of Giants' season with back injury

NBC Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On the day the Giants' two prominent offensive additions were in a lineup for the first time, there was bad news for a key member of last season's outfield.

Luis González has a low back strain and will be out at least four to six weeks. That will keep him from competing for an Opening Day roster spot and also will make it more difficult for him to be in the mix when the Giants visit Mexico City at the end of April. 

González is a native of Hermosillo and had hoped to represent his country in the World Baseball Classic this spring, before finding out at the last moment that he would not be covered by insurance because he finished last season on the IL with a back strain. He had not participated in Giants activities in recent days after feeling discomfort in his back earlier this week.

Manager Gabe Kapler said the latest back issue is similar to last year's, but in a different spot. González twice missed time as a rookie because of a back strain.

González appeared in 98 games last season and posted a .683 OPS with four homers and 10 stolen bases. He was named NL Rookie of the Month after hitting .368 in May, and he also made five pitching appearances over the course of the season, the most by a Giants position player in over 100 years.

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González put on some muscle in the offseason in a bid to win a backup job in a crowded outfield. The Giants plan to go with Michael Conforto in left and Mitch Haniger in right, with Mike Yastrzemski and Austin Slater in center field. Conforto and Haniger made their Giants debuts in Sunday's game at Scottsdale Stadium.

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