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Why Joey Bart was brought to Arizona, but not activated by the Giants

PHOENIX – As expected, Brandon Crawford was activated by the Giants on Tuesday at Chase Field. As expected, Joey Bart was at the clubhouse.

But the rest of the moves presented a few surprises and put the Giants in a potentially precarious position.

The Giants activated Crawford and left-hander Jose Alvarez and opted for infielder Donovan Walton in Triple-A. An MRI revealed that Curt Casali had a grade 2 oblique strain that would likely keep him around for at least a month, but Bart is on the taxi crew at the moment, not active.

That means Tuesday’s reserve catcher is Yermin Mercedes, who isn’t considered a major league catcher by most evaluators and also starts at DH. With Thairo Estrada still on COVID IL, the backup shortstops are… Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores.

Teams don’t usually go into games thinking their receiver or shortstop will be injured, but it does happen, and there’s a weird imbalance on the roster right now. Gabe Kapler wasn’t worried ahead of Tuesday’s game, however. He said Bart would be activated soon.

“There’s no reason to be distorted by what happens very rarely,” Kapler said of the roster’s imbalance. “Did it happen yesterday to Curt? Sure. Could it happen today? Absolutely. But again, it’s one of those things that’s unlikely and you plan and prepare, but you’re not over-indexing, if that makes sense.”

Crawford is one of the iron men in the game and said he felt good physically after 10 days on the IL to let his knee and other ailments heal. Bart was off the roster for other reasons, spending several days working on swing adjustments before a seven-game Triple-A series.

Kapler said there were some slight signs of progress in Triple-A, but admitted that in a perfect world the Giants would have given him more time there.

That’s not possible after Casali stretched his oblique on Monday. He said it was his first oblique stump and called it “heartbreaking”. Casali will return to San Francisco to begin rehab from an injury that will likely keep him until August.

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At some point on this journey, the Giants hope to return to a more normal roster. Estrada still has a sore throat but will return to the infield when that subsides. Bart will join Wynns as an option at receiver soon, possibly on Wednesday.

“There’s a good chance it will be activated for us in the next few days,” Kapler said. “(It was) just a good opportunity since Austin was going to make up for today’s game anyway to get Yermin in the lineup once again at DH and see where we are after the game.”

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