The first place San Francisco Giants flew into the Mile High City for a crucial showdown against the Colorado Rockies as a banged-up team struggling to fill out the lineup card earlier this week. After 45-plus games of action, the 2014 baseball marathon is starting to wear down some ball clubs around the league. No team has endured stranger injuries than the Giants.
Matt Cain, a $126-million arm, missed two starts earlier in the season after cutting the thumb on his pitching hand while making a sandwich. At the time, the incident was classified as more humorous than serious for the guys inside the clubhouse. The Giants won both of the contests Cain was forced to miss while his thumb healed. His injury was a mere prelude to another unnecessary, and potentially more devastating, injury. Setup man Santiago Casilla severely strained his right hamstring while running the bases after chopping a ball to second base in a seemingly unnecessary at-bat on Wednesday night.
Manager Bruce Bochy‘s decision to allow Casilla to grab a bat wasn’t for show. The Giants were leading by four runs in the top of the ninth inning, which meant closer Sergio Romo, who blew a save the night before, wouldn’t qualify for a save. Bochy allowed Casilla to strap on fellow reliever Jean Machi‘s helmet and dig into the box, but he also told him not to swing. Casilla had registered one big league hit in his four previous at-bats.
It wasn’t like Casilla never had the opportunity to swing the lumber before, but that didn’t prevent him from sending a pitch to second base and sprinting down the line in attempt to beat the throw. Casilla wasn’t remotely close to beating out the throw for an infield single. Instead, he beat his hamstring to a pulp, falling to the ground in agony while pounding his fist into the surrounding grass to the right of first base. In an instant, the Giants had lost one of their best relievers for the foreseeable future.
Casilla has been rock solid for the Giants over five seasons. He owns a 1.37 ERA and career-best 1.025 WHIP in 26.1 innings pitched so far in 2014. He’s a vital part of the Giants’ ability to close out games and will be sorely missed. Nobody was laughing when Casilla went down in a heap after running past first base. Chalk another bizarre injury to the Giants, who continue to lead the league in unnecessary visits to the DL. Casilla’s hamstring strain is proof that relievers should never hit in MLB action.