By Evan Webeck
SAN FRANCISCO — Joey Bart took another step Saturday in his recovery from a sprained ankle when he ran the bases, hit in the batting cage and received pitches behind home plate.
After nearly a week of being available in emergencies only, Bart was expected to be an option off the bench Saturday against the Pirates and could possibly reassume starting duties as soon as Sunday, manager Gabe Kapler said.
Bart went through all of his pregame work with his right ankle tightly taped.
Joey Bart running the bases to test his sprained ankle. #SFGiants optimistic he’ll be available off the bench tonight, but Bart said it will be something he deals with for rest of the season. pic.twitter.com/B3mQSsah02
— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) August 13, 2022
The 25-year-old catcher hasn’t appeared in a game since he sprained his ankle on a swing in his final at-bat Monday night against Padres closer Josh Hader. On the swing, Bart said he felt his ankle “pop.”
“It was pretty scary to be honest with you,” Bart said, speaking about the injury for the first time. “I fouled a pitch off and … I stepped out of the box and was shaking my foot around like what just happened?”
Bart said he had never experienced an ankle injury before. He initially underwent an MRI but needed an additional X-ray scan to diagnose the injury.
“Luckily it’s a sprain. … I caught a break,” Bart said. “Obviously it’s not ideal to be a catcher and have something like this happen, but it could’ve been a lot worse, so I’m going to take my win for that.”
While Bart stayed in the game Monday to catch the final three outs, backup Austin Wynns has spent every inning of the following four games behind the dish, an effort Kapler described as “very tough.”
“I think he’s done a great job,” Kapler said. “Real grindy at-bats. Nice job calling pitches the last couple of days. … He’s really helped us in this period where Joey hasn’t been physically capable of going out there everyday.”
Before suffering the injury Monday, Bart extended his hit streak to a season-best five games, including three multi-hit efforts.
Since returning from Triple-A last month, Bart has raised his average from .156 to .214 and hit five of his nine home runs this season. He’s also striking out less — 34.6% of his at-bats, versus a league-high 45.4% before being sent down.
After missing nearly a week and being limited to little baseball activity, Bart isn’t concerned about picking up where left off once he is game-ready again.
“Can’t think like that, man. If you think that’s gonna happen, it’s probably gonna get interrupted,” Bart said. “I just come out and play hard every day. Injuries are part of this game. It’s something I’m gonna try to avoid, obviously, but when I get back in there I’ll be excited to get back and compete.”
Source: Paradise Post