June 22, 2024

Giants’ Jung Hoo Lee heads for season-ending shoulder surgery

SAN FRANCISCO — Jung Hoo Lee is simply 25 years previous. He’s barely two months into his six-year contract with the San Francisco Giants. His complete major-league profession is in entrance of him. When he dislocated his left shoulder in a collision with the outfield fence final week, he knew what occurred earlier than he hit the dust warning monitor. He additionally suspected strongly that season-ending surgery can be in his future.

Lee will endure that surgery to restore his labrum as quickly as Dr. Neal ElAttrache has a gap on his schedule within the subsequent couple of weeks, the Giants introduced Friday. The rehab course of is anticipated to take six months, and all expectations are that Lee, who had an identical process in South Korea in 2018, will probably be totally recovered when he studies to spring coaching subsequent 12 months.

Surgery was the apparent choice. But apparent selections should not all the time simple to make.

“The month and a half playing here in the major leagues was the happiest moments of my baseball career,” Lee stated via interpreter Justin Han. “I’ll never forget the time I’ve spent here this season. I’ll keep it in my heart and for next season, I’ll try to play better with the experience that I have. Baseball is something that I really love. I don’t want to do anything else. I just want to come back with a strong mind.”

The Giants will push ahead with out their major leadoff hitter and heart fielder, but it surely’s a testomony to Lee’s fast endearment to coaches and teammates that their disappointment is resonating deepest on a private degree. Lee’s teammates cherished watching him dash down the road on each ball in play and dash after fly balls within the outfield with all-out effort. His coaches noticed a participant whose bat-to-ball expertise have been starting to make an impression as he discovered how major-league pitchers have been attacking him. Perhaps Lee was one thing lower than a sensation in his first six weeks within the main leagues. But he greater than held his personal. He didn’t seem overwhelmed. And he turned a favourite with followers drawn to his seemingly ever-present pleasure.

Jung Hoo Lee leaves the sector after dislocating his shoulder on May 12. (Kavin Mistry / Getty Images)

“He just loves to play baseball,” Giants supervisor Bob Melvin stated. “It’s sad that’s been taken away from him.”

“It’s a real bummer,” Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi stated. “We felt like he really hit the ground running this season and we saw a lot of good things. We felt like it was just going to continue to get better. Beyond the excitement he created, it seemed like he was becoming more and more important to our team success both offensively and defensively in center field. So it is really disappointing. We’re expecting a full recovery and he’s going to work hard and come back strong in 2025.”

Lee traveled to Los Angeles on Thursday for a session with Dr. ElAttrache, who concurred with the Giants’ opinion to endure surgery to restore the torn labrum and stabilize the shoulder capsule in his non-throwing arm. Lee had an identical process in 2018 whereas enjoying for Kiwoom within the Korea Baseball Organization — he initially dislocated his shoulder on a slide right into a base, rehabbed the damage, then had surgery when the shoulder popped out once more on a dive within the outfield — however he hadn’t handled any lingering points earlier than his wall-crashing try and catch a three-run double off the bat of the Cincinnati Reds’ Jeimer Candelario on May 12.

“It’s not how I thought about ending my rookie season,” Lee stated. “From all of my baseball career, this could be one of the most disappointing seasons I’ve had. For now I’m just trying to optimistically think not of the past but the future.”

Lee confirmed no worry of outfield fences from the season-opening sequence at San Diego when he flung himself into the center-field wall whereas trying to make a catch. He did the identical within the following sequence at Dodger Stadium. He collided with the wall in Boston’s Fenway Park, too. An try at humor after the collision in Los Angeles now reads like ironic foreshadowing.

Lee acknowledged that he may need to be a bit extra cautious sooner or later. He stated he wasn’t trying to make an impression on his new teammates by going all-out in heart discipline. He was merely attempting to emulate San Diego Padres infielder Ha Seong Kim, his pal and former Kiwoom teammate.

“He puts 100 percent effort in any kind of play that he does,” Lee stated. “Also for me, I put 100 percent effort on any play that I do. I never thought this would happen to me. So I always put in 100 percent effort.”

The Giants and Lee mentioned whether or not he may try and rehab his shoulder, return to play a portion of the season and delay surgery till October. But given his youth and the way a lot the Giants have invested in him ($113 million), the prime consideration was to provide him the perfect likelihood at a recent and wholesome begin in 2025.

“I’m making a decision for what I can do for the future,” Lee stated.

The Giants’ instant future in heart discipline now contains Luis Matos, who received off to a tough defensive begin in his first two video games earlier than making a house run theft Wednesday in a victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Zaidi stated Matos would obtain a possibility to determine himself and that the staff believes that he generally is a succesful heart fielder if he performs with a bit of extra aggressiveness.

“Right now it’s Luis’s job,” Zaidi stated. “I think there was a little bit of an adjustment those first couple of days. We know he’s got the ability to play good center field. We’ve seen it for stretches. I know our coaches are encouraged by the tools and just want him to be really aggressive. Outfield play comes easy to him so he can kind of glide to the ball and play with that rhythm. But we’ve asked him to really go all out, try to cover as much ground as you can. And (Wednesday’s catch) was an unbelievable play. We know we can hit up here, we’ve seen it, and we’ve seen good defense in stretches. He’s obviously pretty determined.”

Marco Luciano is also poised to get a little bit of runway at shortstop. The Giants saved Luciano and as a substitute optioned infielder Casey Schmitt on Friday once they activated designated hitter Jorge Soler (sore shoulder) from the injured listing. With shortstop Nick Ahmed (sprained wrist) simply starting mild baseball actions, the Giants must cowl shortstop and will use a bit extra turnover on the backside of the lineup. Luciano hit only one dwelling run at Triple-A Sacramento however was batting .266 whereas drawing extra walks than he ever has. His .399 on-base proportion was among the many Pacific Coast League leaders.

“Every game he plays he builds his case as a major-league shortstop,” Zaidi stated. “We feel like it’s a good time to get him out there and give him a shot at this job. We really liked the approach. That was something that we saw improve a lot last year. … He’s got so much power that homers will come, but if he can carry that at-bat quality up here, I think he’s got a chance to get on a roll.”

The Giants hope to activate catcher Patrick Bailey from the concussion listing shortly after he’s eligible Sunday. Bailey traveled to Pittsburgh to be examined by Dr. Mickey Collins, the identical concussion skilled who consulted with Brandon Belt, Marco Scutaro and others through the years. The Giants described Collins as “pleased” with Bailey’s progress and cleared him to renew baseball actions over the weekend.

Outfielder Michael Conforto (hamstring) is also making progress towards a return. He started operating drills Friday. It may take a bit longer for outfielder Austin Slater, who continues to cope with concussion signs per week after colliding with the outfield wall on May 10.

The Giants obtained constructive damage information on the pitching entrance after an MRI confirmed that right-hander Keaton Winn, who exited his begin Tuesday due to a proper forearm cramp, didn’t maintain structural harm. Zaidi stated the membership mentioned protecting Winn on the energetic roster as a result of he wasn’t anticipated to be sidelined for the minimal 15 days. But given his innings limitations this season, it made sense to provide the right-hander a break. The membership recalled right-hander Mason Black and can hand him the baseball Friday evening in a house sequence opener towards the streaking Colorado Rockies.

Slotting Black into Friday’s begin will enable the Giants to push again Kyle Harrison and Jordan Hicks, affording each pitchers an additional day of relaxation — an essential consideration as a result of each Harrison and Hicks can have their very own innings limitations as they pitch their first full season in a major-league rotation.

By this time subsequent week, the Giants hope to have the ability to reintroduce left-hander Blake Snell (groin damage), who was anticipated to make a last rehab begin for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday.

“We’re sort of getting on the other side of this and getting guys back,” Zaidi stated of the staff’s damage morass, which claimed eight gamers in 11 days. “You start to look at the back end of this when we’ve got to start picking, ‘OK, who can stay on their roster, who can we continue to find at-bats for?’ So right now it’s fun to get the chance to see these young guys.”

But Lee must wait till 2025 to rejoin the enjoyable on the sector. And no a part of that has been simple to simply accept.

“As much as anything, from day one of spring training, he never looked out of place,” Zaidi stated. “He was looking like he belonged. Seeing guys come from other leagues internationally, even guys who ascended to All-Star status here, they don’t always hit the ground running right when they started. So he was way ahead of some other really good players that I’ve seen come over.”

(Top photograph: Ron Chenoy / USA Today)