SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants will begin the season without their top left-handed reliever, and there is concern that Will Smith will miss much more than just April.
Smith had an MRI on Monday night after coming out of a spring game with pain in his left elbow. Manager Bruce Bochy said the MRI, Smith's second of the spring, showed an elbow strain and also a sprain. General manager Bobby Evans said there is concern about the integrity of the ligament. Smith had previously missed the first month of camp with the same issue.
"There are things on the MRI that didn't necessarily show up on the last MRI," Evans said.
Smith flew to San Francisco to get a second opinion from team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki. The worst-case scenario would be season-ending Tommy John surgery. The Giants are hoping Smith just needs treatment and rehab, but even that path would likely sideline him for several months.
"We'll know more tomorrow," Bochy said. "But it's going to take a little while. Any time you re-injure it, you're always going to take longer, almost twice as long as before."
Smith was acquired at the deadline in 2016 in exchange for Andrew Susac and Phil Bickford. With Smith out, the Giants will lean heavily on young left-handers Josh Osich and Steven Okert, and potentially fifth-starter candidate Ty Blach, who threw three sharp innings of long relief Tuesday.
Players getting angry towards an umpire is synonymous with baseball. And during the Arizona Fall League, it's no different ... even if you're arguing with technology.
During a Tuesday fall league game, Giants outfield prospect Jacob Heyward, the younger brother of Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, was ejected after striking out on a call made by a robot umpire:
Looks low and inside, right?
But if you scroll to the next photo of the Instagram post, the pitch tracker shows it was, indeed, a strike.
So who (or what) was Heyward yelling at if he was unsatisfied with the call? Heyward appears to claim his displeasure wasn't with the home plate umpire -- who simply was relaying the call from a computer system -- but he was ejected nevertheless.
This year, the automated ball-strike system (ABS) has been implemented to use at all games being played at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The independent Atlantic League first tested the technology, which includes a real-life umpire still manning duties behind the plate. The ump receives communications via an earpiece that's connected to an iPhone, and then relays the call from the TrackMan computer system.
[RELATED: Giants infielder Dubon engaged at Disneyland Paris]
Yes, it's complicated.
Despite Heyward's reaction, the data shows the pitch was a strike. And even if this is the case from now on (MLB will sometimes adopt these "experiments" down the line) the human element of emotions still will always come into play.
The carousel continues to turn for the Giants manager job.
Former Giants catcher Mike Matheny has drawn interest from San Francisco for its managerial position, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.
Matheny played his final two MLB seasons with the Giants and retired from baseball in 2007. The four-time Gold Glove winner managed the Cardinals from 2012-18, finishing with 591 wins and 474 losses, good for a .555 winning percentage.
He has spent the past two seasons with the Kansas City Royals as a special advisor for player development.
[RELATED: Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Venable for manager job]
It is important to note the Giants have not been reported to have reached out to Matheny or brought him in for an interview.
As the process continues, Matheny is not likely to be the last name we hear associated with interviewing to take over for Bruce Bochy in San Francisco.