Evan Longoria

Longoria adjusting to life out of Giants lineup: 'I don't really know what to do'

Longoria adjusting to life out of Giants lineup: 'I don't really know what to do'

LOS ANGELES -- Evan Longoria played 162 games in 2014 and has played at least 156 games every season since. That streak will come to an end this year, and Longoria had some trouble dealing with his first game on the bench. 

"It sucks," he said. "Yesterday I was going crazy. Sitting down and watching the game, I don't really know what to do."

He'll have no choice but to figure it out for the rest of the first half. Longoria will have surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured fifth metacarpal and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks. That's the official estimate, although Longoria said he hopes to be back shortly after the All-Star break in the middle of July. That's the reason he's having surgery for a fracture that wasn't considered serious; he'll be able to resume strength work within a couple of days and said surgery will speed the healing process. 

Longoria won't have pins sticking out of the his hand as Madison Bumgarner did, and he said he'll follow some of the same schedule that got Joe Panik back ahead of schedule. Panik had his procedure done by Dr. Shin, who will do Longoria's surgery. 

In the meantime, the Giants will rely heavily on Pablo Sandoval, who had a two-run homer on Friday and has played well. Red-hot infielder Alen Hanson is at third base Saturday.

"It doesn't make it easier, but it is comforting knowing we have guys stepping up," Longoria said. "We've been in a tough spot but it's nothing we can't overcome."

--- The Giants will be without their entire left side for at least one day. Brandon Crawford will go on the paternity list on Monday because his wife is giving birth to the couple's fourth child. Crawford may miss a couple of games. Kelby Tomlinson is expected to replace him. 

---- Jeff Samardzija's velocity and command were back to normal in a rehab start on Friday night. He's expected to make one more rehab start and then return to the rotation. Johnny Cueto isn't far behind; he'll throw to hitters Monday at AT&T Park and then make a couple of minor league appearances. 

Down on the Farm: Checking in on former Giants top prospect Christian Arroyo

Down on the Farm: Checking in on former Giants top prospect Christian Arroyo

The Giants refused to rebuild this past offseason after finishing 2017 with the second-worst record in baseball. Brian Sabean, Bobby Evans and the rest of the front office stared at this team's window of opportunity and stayed in win-now mode, using the classic line of a "reload" over a rebuild. 

Shooting for the San Francisco stars, the team went all in on Giancarlo Stanton, before the now-Yankee turned them down, and traded off top prospects for former stars Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria. Through the team's first 69 games, the two have looked exactly as described -- former stars. McCutchen has come on strong lately, hitting two two-run home runs in the last two games. He's batting .356 with four home runs over a 10-game stretch and is up to .267 with eight home runs on the year. The former MVP may be finding his stride as he figures out the NL West. 

Longoria on the other hand, hasn't found much success in his first season with San Francisco. At the time of fracturing his left hand Thursday in Miami, Longoria was slashing .246/.278/.434. The positive is Longoria's 10 home runs rank second on the Giants and he leads the team with 34 RBI, but he simply hasn't been consistent and isn't getting on base enough.

In 2017, Longoria finished with a career-low .313 on-base percentage and he's 35 points lower this year as he has 10 walks to 57 strikeouts. And the three-time Gold Glove third baseman has committed 11 errors in 66 games, three off his career-high for a season. 

The Giants had to part ways with former top prospect Christian Arroyo to acquire Longoria in the offseason. At just 21 years old last year, Arroyo's bat was too good to keep in Triple-A. After 16 games with Sacramento, the team's top hitting prospect was batting .446 and was called up to San Francisco. In 34 games, Arroyo proved to be a pup with the big dogs in the majors. He hit .192 with three home runs and 32 strikeouts in 34 games with the Giants. But with the Rays, Arroyo's second crack at the majors looks much dfferent in Year 2 compared to Year 1. 

Arroyo's season was cut short in 2017 with a fractured wrist. He started the season in Triple-A Durham this year and was quickly put on the shelf again, this time with a calf injury. Overcoming his wrsit injury, Arroyo's start to the season in Triple-A was the complete opposite this year than last. When the Rays called up Arroyo from Durham, he was batting .200 in 17 games with a .235 on-base percentage and .308 slugging percentage, not exactly major-league-ready numbers. And then, Arroyo replaced old friend Matt Duffy in his Rays debut and laced two singles. 

The recently turned 23-year-old has now played in 19 games, 18 starts, with the Rays. Drafted as a shortstop, Arroyo has played eight games at second base, six at third base and was the DH in two. He finds himself in an infield logjam, but Tampa Bay is in a youth movement and will be sellers before the trade deadline. Arroyo started off hot for the Rays and is now slashing .280/.357/.420 with one home run. 

Offensively, Arroyo is showing maturity with six walks, two less than his eight in 34 games with the Giants, and is barreling the ball with hard contact. Arroyo's average exit velocity is up from 87.4 mph with the Giants to 91.8 mph with the Rays. Longoria has a 90.0 average exit velocity this season. While he will never be a huge home run threat, the stocky-built Arroyo finds the barrel consistently and should at least find gap-to-gap power. 

In an attempt to make another run at October in 2018, there's no denying San Francisco's move to add the 32-year-old Longoria, who is signed through 2022 with a team option for 2023. At the same time, Arroyo, 23, is showing the versatility around the infield and growth with his bat that had Giants fan frothing in the past thinking about his future.

How the Giants plan to replace Evan Longoria

How the Giants plan to replace Evan Longoria

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Giants left California a week ago, Bruce Bochy was trying to find a solution to a good problem. Alen Hanson was red-hot as a pinch-hitter, and Bochy needed to find ways to take advantage of newfound depth. 

As the Giants return to California, that depth is once again being tested.

Evan Longoria will miss significant time after fracturing his fifth metacarpal when hit by a pitch in the fourth inning Thursday. It's the same injury that cost Madison Bumgarner two and a half months, but Longoria told reporters in Miami that he didn't think his fracture was as bad. 

"His was a little bit worse than mine, just looking at the x-rays it was a little bit different," Longoria said, according to Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It wasn't exactly the same."

Regardless, the Giants can expect an extended absence for their starting third baseman, and once again, they have a lineup hole. The best fill-in will actually be a first baseman. Brandon Belt has progressed well in his recovery from an appendectomy and could return this weekend against the Dodgers. If he needs a couple of rehab games, you can expect to then see him Monday at AT&T Park. That would slide one power hitter in for another, with Pablo Sandoval moving over to third to serve as the everyday third baseman. 

Hanson made his first career start at third in Washington D.C. over the weekend and made an error, but given his breakthrough at the plate, it’s worth giving him a look, too.

Perhaps this is also the time for the Giants to take another look at a player who has stats worthy of a promotion. Austin Slater has an OPS approaching 1.000, and while he isn't a third baseman, he has played second in the past and could serve in a utility role if Hanson sees more time at third. 

The immediate move appears to be one to bolster a bullpen that has had to fill way too many innings. Pierce Johnson was added to the taxi squad Thursday night, so he likely will join the club Friday to add a fresh arm.