The Giants announced a series of roster moves before tonight’s matchup with the Nationals. First baseman Brandon Belt and reliever Dominic Leone have each tested positive for COVID-19 and were placed on the injured list. Outfielders Jason Krizan and Ka’ai Tom and reliever Mauricio Llovera have each been selected onto the major league roster. Additionally, San Francisco released recently-claimed southpaw Darien Nunez.
Under the league’s 2022 health-and-safety protocols, players who test positive are subject to a 10-day absence from the club, though it’s possible to be reinstated in less time if the player has gone 24 or more hours without a fever, received a pair of negative PCR tests, and been given approval from a team physician and the MLB/MLBPA joint committee (a panel of one league-appointed and one union-appointed physician). Belt and Leone join outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and reliever Zack Littell on the Giants’ COVID list.
Obviously, San Francisco is down two notable pieces to both the lineup and the bullpen. Belt, one of the game’s best hitters from 2020-21, has again gotten off to an excellent start. The 34-year-old is hitting .242/.367/.470 with four homers through his first 79 plate appearances. Leone, meanwhile, has fired seven innings of three-run ball with eight strikeouts and one walk through the season’s first few weeks.
The Giants didn’t specify whether the three players selected today are designated COVID “substitutes,” although it seems likely that’ll be the case. This season, the commissioner’s office has sole discretion to determine whether a team’s “ability to field a competitive team” has been sufficiently been impacted by the virus to warrant temporary replacements. In that event, those “substitute” players could be removed from the 40-man roster and returned to the minor leagues as the team gets back to health. Given that the Giants have lost four players to positive tests in fairly rapid succession, it seems likely they’d have the league would afford them that luxury.
While it may not be under ideal circumstances, it’s no doubt a rewarding day for Krizan. Selected by the Tigers out of Dallas Baptist in 2011, the left-handed hitting corner outfielder has spent 11 years in the minor leagues. That includes parts of seven seasons at Triple-A, where Krizan has a career .276/.347/.412 in more than 400 games. That includes an impressive .316/.367/.492 showing with the Giants’ top affiliate in Sacramento last year. Krizan hasn’t gotten off to a great start with the River Cats this season, but his established track record in the minors earns him his first big league call a couple months shy of his 33rd birthday.
More to come.