Trevor Brown’s spring did not end as he had hoped.
First, the Giants’ catcher injured a tendon in his right ankle in mid-March. Then he felt a pain in his lower abdominal and groin area, he thinks from compensating for the walking boot. And then he got sick.
“It was kind of one thing after the next,” Brown said.
As a result, Brown started the season on the disabled list and did not make his debut until Tuesday night at Triple-A Sacramento. Brown caught most of the River Cats’ 8-2 loss to Salt Lake and went 1 for 3 with a single in his first official game action since last season.
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“First time playing under the lights since last year, too – that’s always kind of a different feel,” he said. “But my body feels good. All the stuff I’ve been rehabbing is feeling good. So I think just getting that playing time, getting back in rhythm, it’ll be that much better.”
Brown, who spent last season in the majors as a rookie backing up Buster Posey, lost that role when the Giants signed veteran catcher Nick Hundley over the offseason. He hit .333 (8 for 24) this spring and was getting some work in the infield before his injury.
Brown said he still isn’t sure what he did in a game to hurt his ankle. But the sequence of events sidelined him for nearly a month. He caught parts of three extended spring training games and got some at-bats there before transferring his rehab assignment to Sacramento.
You never want Buster (Posey) or a guy to get hurt. But at the same time, I have to be ready for something like that. Because when you do get the call-up, we have to be ready, we’ve got to expect to play at that level.
Trevor Brown, a catcher in the Giants’ organization currently playing with the River Cats
On Tuesday, Brown grounded into outs in his first two at-bats before blooping a single into right field in the seventh inning. He was replaced at catcher in eighth.
“I felt better catching than I did in the batter’s box,” Brown said. “It’s more battle mode than up there comfortable ready to do some damage ... I got kinda lucky and hit that bloop in a good spot. So that’s nice. I think coming in tomorrow 1 for 3 is much better than coming in 0 for 3.”
Brown said he expects to DH on Wednesday and catch a full game Thursday for the first time. When his rehab is up, he expects to remain in Sacramento – barring other injuries.
The Giants already lost Posey for a week to a concussion after he was struck in the head by a pitch in their home opener. It created a need for a catcher, but with Brown out the Giants instead called up Tim Federowicz, who was designated for assignment Tuesday as Posey returned from the DL.
Brown said he knows how quickly things can change.
“You never want Buster or a guy to get hurt,” Brown said. “But at the same time, I have to be ready for something like that. Because when you do get the call-up, we have to be ready, we’ve got to expect to play at that level.”
Jones OK – Infield prospect Ryder Jones is also easing into the season after an auspicious start. Jones, the No. 23 prospect in the Giants’ minor-league system according to mlb.com, was struck in the head by a pitch in the River Cats’ preseason exhibition game against San Jose and began the season on the 7-day concussion DL.
Jones said his symptoms went away after after a few days and have not returned. Tuesday was his third game back. Starting at third base, he went 1 for 4 with an RBI double and is 5 for 13 since his return.
“I feel normal,” Jones said afterward. “I felt normal two or three days out of it happening. They were just extra cautious. I know the Giants have a history of concussions with (Joe) Panik and (Brandon) Belt. So they’re extra cautious about it, which makes sense. I mean, your head’s the most important thing on your body.”
Because he hasn’t seen much live pitching yet, Jones said right now he’s “just up there kind of battling. But I would say maybe 10, 20 more at-bats, should be a full go.”
Heads up – The River Cats lost another player to a freak head injury on their recent road trip when pitcher Kyle Crick was hit by a foul ball while sitting in the dugout. Manager Dave Brundage indicated he hopes Crick won’t be sidelined for long.
“It’s just nowadays we’re going to err on the side of cautious,” Brundage said. “(The ball) kind of glanced off him. I didn’t think too much of it, to tell you the truth. It wasn’t like the ball got smoked. But sometimes it hits you in the right spot in the coconut and, next thing you know, doctors are going to err on that side.”