The decision to option Luis Gonzalez to Triple-A on Monday was not popular with Giants fans, bringing back memories of last June's optioning of LaMonte Wade Jr., who was one of the most productive Giants hitters at the time.
Wade came back after just four days last summer, and Gonzalez ended up back inside of a week, too, but unfortunately for the Giants the return came because of more injury concerns for Wade.
Before the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park, the Giants recalled Gonzalez from Triple-A and put Wade back on the IL with left knee inflammation, an issue that cost him the end of the spring training and the first 25 games of the season. Wade returned for 10 games, but on Monday night he felt pain while running the bases. After missing the next two games, Wade had an MRI, and he will see an outside doctor next Monday to get a second opinion. Wade said the continued knee issues have been "very frustrating."
"I feel for LaMonte," manager Gabe Kapler said. "He's worked so hard to get back and was off to a good start. He's swinging the bat really well. He's seeing the ball really well, and it's tough when your body is not cooperating with you."
Kapler had previously called the Gonzalez decision a tough one because of how well the young outfielder was playing. Gonzalez hit .349 in his first 21 games this season with a 156 OPS+, but he ended up playing just one game back in Triple-A, homering in his first at-bat. Gonzalez was scratched from Sacramento's lineup on Thursday and will play right field and bat ninth on Friday night against the Padres.
"It's a great opportunity to talk about how meaningful Luis Gonzalez has been to our team this year," Kapler said. "As everybody knows, we had kind of a tough discussion in sending him down and part of the reason was because LaMonte was healthy and LaMonte is also such an important piece of our ball club. Now we have Luis back. Whenever there's some bad news like LaMonte needing to go on the IL, there's also some good news and that good news was we have Luis Gonzales back. It was exciting to be able to say he's in the lineup today."