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SF Giants: Nagging back injury ends Luis González’s promising rookie season

By Evan Webeck

Luis González was an early breakout star this season for the Giants, using his athleticism and professional approach at the plate to earn National League rookie of the month honors in May, but the 27-year-old outfielder struggled to regain that form since a chronic back issue interrupted his season in June.

Now, those back issues will spell a premature end to González’s season. The Giants placed him on the 10-day injured list before Saturday’s game against the D-backs. Catcher/infielder Ford Proctor was called up to take his place on the roster and started at second base, becoming the franchise-record 65th player used this season.

Manager Gabe Kapler told reporters in Phoenix that it was a difficult decision to shut down González and that, despite his sluggish second half, “he’s really earned the right to be out there.”

González’s modest final numbers (.254/.323/.360, four homers, 17 doubles, a .683 OPS) obscure a more impressive debut.

Before landing on the IL on June 21, González was leading the team with a .302 batting average, spraying the ball to all fields with plenty of pop — an .808 OPS. But one morning in Atlanta, González rolled out of the hotel bed, felt something funny in his back, and his season went sideways.

González, who had previously dealt with back issues, spent nearly three weeks on the injured list with a low back sprain. He entered the season still recovering from the shoulder surgery that ended his 2021 season (which made him available for the Giants to pluck from the White Sox, in the first place). Even when he came back, the back stiffness never went away.

“It’s been a long year for me in terms of my back and my shoulder,” González said in an interview last week. “(The IL stint) kind of got out of my rhythm a little bit.”

Since returning on July 9, González has batted .204 with one homer and five doubles — a .552 OPS.

“Baseball’s just a tough sport,” González said. “You can have a really hot month. You can have a really terrible month. You just have to stay as consistent as possible. … I don’t want any excuses.”

González also stole 10 bases — third on the team — and while his gusto on the base paths was often a positive, his tough second half was also defined by his blunders on the bases and in the field. González’s five errors were the most among Giants outfielders.

Source: Paradise Post