No one needed to know the results of the MRI on Cody Ross’ calf to know the outfielder would not be opening the season with the Giants next week.
Ross, who injured his calf fielding a routine fly ball on Wednesday, showed up at Giants training camp Thursday in a walking boot and using a crutch.
The Giants then announced that Ross had suffered a moderate strain of the right calf and he would be sidelined for three weeks.
Initial hopes were that Ross would need a couple of days to heal and be ready for the March 31 opener against the Dodgers.
And even the briefest of possible stints on the disabled list might still allow Ross to be in the lineup for the Giants’ home opener April 8 against the Cardinals.
But Thursday’s news now sets Ross’ earliest possible debut as April 15.
So now it’s time to consider options.
AARON ROWAND: The most plausible replacement option would be Rowand playing center field, with Andres Torres playing right. Rowand has played a little left field this spring, but playing right — particularly at AT&T Park — is a different story. The Giants likely would be better off with Torres in right. And with the Giants slated to face a pair of lefties — Clayton Kershaw and Ted Lilly — in the opening series in LA, the right-handed hitting Rowand seems a natural fit.
NATE SCHIERHOLTZ: Schierholtz has gone from being about a week away from being dealt away by the Giants to being almost a virtual lock to make the club. Given that, it’s doubtful that the left-handed hitting outfielder would be the first choice to replace Ross in the regular lineup, but he could get some starts against right-handed pitchers.
AUBREY HUFF/BRANDON BELT: A third option to consider is to move Aubrey Huff to right field and play Brandon Belt at first base. It had been considered to start Huff in left and Belt and first, sending Pat Burrell to the bench. But Ross’ injury may necessitate considering Huff for right field.
Hank Schulman of the SF Chronicle tweeted that the Belt option is being considered, but also added: “Everyone is pulling for Rowand.”
So it sounds as if the Giants are leaning toward the Rowand option early in the season. It may not be popular with Giants followers. But it’s the smart move.
Imagine if this injury had taken place the first week of the season and that the final roster cuts had already been made. Schierholtz may have been playing for someone else, and the Giants’ options would be seriously limited right.
Sabean also said that no more cuts will be made until the team returns to the Bay Area next week.
No doubt. I mean, heaven forbid, but what if someone else gets hurt.