Their playoff hopes coming down to the season’s final week, the Giants added two players Tuesday before their series opener against the Rockies.
With Eduardo Nunez sidelined by a hamstring injury, the Giants acquired infielder Gordon Beckham from the Atlanta Braves in a trade for minor-league infielder Rich Rodriguez. They also added a third catcher to the roster in Tony Sanchez.
Both new players expected to join the Giants on Tuesday night.
To clear spots on their 40-man roster, the Giants designated left-hander Matt Reynolds for assignment and also placed Mac Williamson on the 60-day DL with a quad strain that the outfielder suffered Sunday in San Diego.
An MRI on Nunez, who came out of Sunday’s game in the seventh inning, showed a “mild hamstring pull,” said manager Bruce Bochy. The Giants are hopeful Nunez can return after two to three days, in time for their final series against the Dodgers, but the acquisition of Beckham gives them coverage.
Beckham, 30, was hitting .217 with five homers and 30 RBIs this season for the Braves. He has been marginally better against left-handed pitching (.233) and Bochy said that depending on Nunez’s availability, Beckham could start two potentially crucial games this weekend, with the Dodgers slated to throw Clayton Kershaw on Friday and Rich Hill on Saturday.
“We’re getting him to help out,” Bochy said. “And it gives us, when he’s not starting, a right-handed bat coming off the bench to help out. We’re a little short there.”
Beckham would not be eligible for the postseason and will be a free agent after this season.
As for Sanchez, Bochy said firmly that the decision to add a third catcher was not made because either Buster Posey or Trevor Brown are ailing, but to allow more flexibility for in-game switches. Bochy said the Giants deemed that more important in the final week than having an extra left-hander in the bullpen in Reynolds.
Sanchez, who has major-league experience with the Pirates, was playing in Sacramento until the end of the Triple-A season. Reynolds allowed five runs in six innings over eight appearances for the Giants.
The Giants entered Tuesday a half-game behind the Mets for the top National League wild-card spot and a full game ahead of the Cardinals for the second spot. If they do make the playoffs, they will not have the option of carrying one of their most powerful right-handed bats in Williamson.
Bochy said Williamson injured his quad running out an infield hit Sunday but didn’t say anything to trainers until after the Giants flew home. An MRI confirmed the quad strain.
“He thought he would be able to get through the season with it,” Bochy said. “And he could barely walk, I guess, when we landed.”
The Giants did get good news on the injury front Tuesday. Right-hander Johnny Cueto threw a bullpen session, his first since exiting his start last week in Los Angeles with a groin strain, and reported feeling no discomfort. The Giants plan to start Cueto against the Rockies on Thursday.
“I was throwing everything like a real game and nothing was bothering me,” Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros.
Bochy also said the Giants might put Cueto through some light fielding practice before Wednesday’s game to make sure he’s OK. Cueto did not need an interpreter in responding to that idea.
“Hell no,” Cueto said in English, smiling. “That’s only for spring training.”