How Giants plan to fill gap left by latest Evan Longoria injured list trip

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How Giants plan to fill gap left by latest Longoria IL trip originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

LOS ANGELES -- Whenever a 36-year-old grabs at his hamstring as he's running down the line, you fear the worst, but the Giants don't anticipate being without Evan Longoria for too long. Still, the damage was enough that Longoria officially went on the 10-day injured list on Sunday, robbing the lineup of one of its more valuable pieces through at least the trade deadline.

Longoria will get an MRI in Phoenix on Monday to determine how much damage was done, but the Giants put him on the IL for the third time and recalled right-hander Gregory Santos from Triple-A.

That roster spot ultimately is likely to go to Tommy La Stella, who is rehabbing after a lengthy stint on the COVID IL, but with two lefties on the other side the next two games, the Giants didn't feel the need to rush La Stella.

The replacement at third on Saturday was David Villar and he'll start against Clayton Kershaw on Sunday. Manager Gabe Kapler said they'll mix things up a bit, but indicated that Villar is likely to get most of the time at third while Longoria is out.

"I definitely see that as a silver lining," Kapler said. "David is important to us now and he's important to our future. ... I think it's a great opportunity for him to establish himself in the way that Luis González and LaMonte Wade Jr. have done. Look, if he's able to play regularly for us and be a stable bat in our lineup, I think that's a huge win for the Giants and for David, of course."

Villar has played in 15 games since being recalled earlier this month at Chase Field in Phoenix. He has a .772 OPS, and while the strikeouts have been a bit high, he has offset that by drawing a lot of walks.

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La Stella may see some time at third when he returns, but the Giants have generally kept him off the dirt. Wilmer Flores can also play third but is needed at second right now since Thairo Estrada shifted over to shortstop to cover for the injured Brandon Crawford.

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