This is not what you wanted to see if you're San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Dependable late-inning reliever Santiago Casilla, who has posted a remarkable 1.42 ERA over 25 1/3 innings this season, suffered a serious looking hamstring injury while making a rare plate appearance in the team's 5-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
With two outs and no runners on base in the ninth inning, Casilla stepped up to the plate for only the fifth time in his 11-year career. Bochy had a short bench already and probably didn't want to burn through another reliever in the ninth inning if he could help it, especially coming off Tuesday's wild game that saw closer Sergio Romo throw 24 pitches and take the loss. He also saw no harm in sending Casilla to the plate, as long as he adhered to his advice to keep his bat on his shoulder for three pitches.
Bruce Bochy told Santiago Casilla he didn't have to swing during the at-bat. Casilla did not adhere to the plan.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 22, 2014
Casilla not only put the ball in play with a chopper up the middle, he busted it out of the batter's box looking for his second career hit. Needless to say, he didn't get it, and during one of his final strides he felt something give in his hamstring. Casilla took a few more ginger steps before tumbling to the ground in obvious agony and then pounded the turf with his pitching hand as the athletic trainers came to his aid. He was unable to put weight on the leg when he was helped off.
The silver lining, if there is one here, is that Casilla apparently suffered no damage to his knee. That was the immediate concern and a potential season-ending scenario. This didn't look particularly good either. He's scheduled to have an MRI on his hamstring on Thursday to determine the severity, which is likely to be followed by a lengthy DL stint, but it could have been worse on many levels.
This also serves as a reminder that there are times where taking it easy on the diamond is acceptable. Both the Giants and Casilla are wishing that had been the case here.
In other injury news for San Francisco, starter Matt Cain left Wednesday's game after three hitless innings with a right hamstring strain. Cain appeared to suffer the injury lunging for a groundball. His status was not immediately available, but San Francisco is obviously holding its breath and mining for depth as the injuries pile up.
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