Why Joey Bart was brought to Arizona, but not activated by Giants

PHOENIX — As expected, Brandon Crawford was activated by the Giants on Tuesday at Chase Field. As expected, Joey Bart was in the clubhouse. 

But the rest of the moves presented some surprises, and put the Giants in a potentially precarious position. 

The Giants activated Crawford and left-hander Jose Alvarez and optioned infielder Donovan Walton to Triple-A. An MRI revealed that Curt Casali has a Grade 2 oblique strain which will likely keep him out at least a month, but Bart is on the taxi squad for now, not active. 

That means that the backup catcher on Tuesday is Yermin Mercedes, who is not considered by most evaluators to be a big league catcher and is also starting at DH. With Thairo Estrada still on the COVID IL, the backup shortstops are … Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores. 

Teams don’t generally go into games thinking their catcher or shortstop will get hurt, but it does happen, and there’s a weird imbalance on the roster right now. Gabe Kapler wasn’t worried before Tuesday’s game, though. He said Bart will be activated soon.

“There’s no reason to be bent out of shape about the thing that very infrequently happens,” Kapler said of the roster imbalance. “Did it happen yesterday to Curt? Sure. Could it happen today? Absolutely. But again, it’s one of those things that’s unlikely and that you plan and prepare for but you don’t over-index, if that makes sense.”

 

Crawford is one of the game’s iron men and said he feels good physically after 10 days on the IL to let his knee and other ailments heal. Bart was off the roster for other reasons, spending several days working on swing adjustments before a seven-game run in Triple-A.

Kapler said there were some slight signs of progress in Triple-A, but he admitted that in a perfect world the Giants would have given him more time there. 

That’s not possible after Casali strained his oblique Monday. He said it’s his first oblique strain and called it “gut wrenching.” Casali will fly back to San Francisco to begin the rehab for an injury that likely will keep him out until August.

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At some point on this trip, the Giants hope to get back to a more normal alignment. Estrada still has a sore throat but will return to the infield when that goes away. Bart will soon join Wynns as an option at catcher, possibly on Wednesday.

“There’s a good chance he’s activated for us in the next few days,” Kapler said. “(This) was just a good opportunity since Austin was going to catch today’s game anyhow to have Yermin in the lineup one more time at DH and see where we are after the game.”

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