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SF Giants shortstop has ‘pretty good’ chance to play Sunday in possible swan song

SF Giants shortstop has ‘pretty good’ chance to play Sunday in possible swan song

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said last week he intended on starting this weekend when he’s eligible to come off the injured list, and manager Gabe Kapler didn’t disabuse anyone of that notion Monday.

Before the Giants opened their three-game series with the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park, Kapler said he felt “pretty good” about the possibility of Crawford, who has a right hamstring strain, being activated Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Obviously, there’s a few more steps to take to make sure that he’s healthy enough to take on that last game of the season,” Kapler said. “But it’s certainly within the realm of possibility and something that we’re working towards. Obviously, it would mean a lot to Giants fans, a lot to Brandon, his family, and all of us as well.”

Asked if Crawford has to demonstrate anything to show he can play Sunday, Kapler said, “He doesn’t have to prove anything to me. He just has to feel healthy enough to play for us.

“If he’s healthy enough to play for us. we’ll be excited to have him at shortstop.”

Crawford did some infield drills Monday afternoon as the reeling Giants prepared to open their final homestand of 2023 with their postseason hopes hanging by a thread. The Giants entered Monday five games back of the National League’s final wild card spot with six games left to play.

Crawford is in the final year of a two-year, $32 million contract he signed with the Giants in Aug. 2021, and Sunday’s game might be the last with the organization and possibly his career. Crawford, 36, hasn’t decided whether he will retire or perhaps try to sign with another team if the Giants do not offer him another contract.

The Giants have both Marco Luciano and Tyler Fitzgerald waiting in the wings as possibilities to take over at shortstop.

“I’ve had a lot of thoughts,” Crawford said last Thursday. “I don’t have an answer. But I’ve had plenty of thoughts.”

Crawford has played in 1,653 games for San Francisco over a 13-year MLB career after he was drafted by the organization in 2008 in the fourth round. The 91 games he has played so far this year, though, is the fewest over a full season since his rookie year in 2011. He is batting a career-worst .197 with a paltry .595 OPS, and also has a .964 fielding percentage, well below his career average of .974.

Still, Crawford has played more games at shortstop than anyone in franchise history and since his MLB debut in 2011, has won two World Series, four Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger award. The Pleasanton native has also been selected to four all-star games.

“It’s going to be emotional, probably. You guys know how emotional I typically get,” Crawford said of Sunday’s game. “I don’t know. In a way, I guess I’m looking forward to it just to have that, to have that game.”

TRANSACTION: The Giants recalled reliever Sean Hjelle recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and placed fellow righty Luke Jackson on the Paternity List.

Catcher Joey Bart was also in the Giants’ clubhouse before Monday’s game and was at his former locker, but Kapler said the team wasn’t ready to announce a formal transaction.

Staff writer Evan Webeck contributed to this story.