After going 2-5 on a difficult trip to St. Louis and Pittsburgh, the Giants experienced another loss during Monday’s off-day.
Reliever Jeremy Affeldt suffered a partial dislocation of his left knee and went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday before the Giants began a three-game home series against the Chicago Cubs. The Giants recalled right-hander Mike Broadway from the River Cats to take Affeldt’s spot in the bullpen.
The loss comes at an inopportune time for the Giants. They’re entering a nine-game stretch against the Cubs, Cardinals and Dodgers, and they’re battling the Cubs and Dodgers for playoff positioning.
I feel bad that it has happened. But I was with my children, so I’m not going to apologize for it.
Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt on the circumstances of his knee injury
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Affeldt hasn’t had his most effective season – a 5.46 ERA in 44 games – but remained a late-inning option and is part of the “Core Four” relievers who have pitched in all three of the Giants’ recent World Series.
Affeldt told reporters he was injured while playing with his three sons on a lake near his home in Spokane, Wash. He said they were coming in from the lake when he slipped on a platform in the water and felt his knee buckle. He said it “almost sounded like a knuckle popping.”
Affeldt called a Giants trainer and was examined Tuesday by team doctors, who told him he tore a small ligament near his kneecap. The good news, Affeldt said, is he was told surgery is unnecessary, and that there is a strong chance he will pitch again this season.
“Hopefully, it would be just a two-week thing,” the left-hander said. “I can’t promise that, but I’m going to shoot for that and do what I can to get back in two weeks. It could have been a lot worse. Most of the structure of the knee is fine.”
Once the initial worry that his season was over had subsided, Affeldt faced the ignominy of explaining another freak injury. Affeldt already pitches with a brace on his right knee because of a 2012 injury sustained when one of his sons jumped on him. In 2011, he cut open his right hand trying to separate frozen hamburgers.
This time, Affeldt said he was consciously favoring his right knee while in the water and compensating with his left knee as a result. He flew home to Spokane for the off-day knowing he wouldn’t see his sons for five weeks during the stretch run.
“We were having a good time,” he said. “It wasn’t like we were inner-tubing or wakeboarding or anything like that. I was playing with them on some of their float stuff on the lake and just lost my footing.
“Obviously, it’s bad timing, and I hope that I can make the best of it. I feel bad that it has happened. But I was with my children, so I’m not going to apologize for it. But I do feel bad that this was the timing of it, and I was trying to be safe – I wasn’t doing stupid stuff. It just happened. It was a frustrating phone call I had to make (Monday) night, I promise you that.”
It could have been a lot worse. Most of the structure of the knee is fine.
Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt
When he returns, Affeldt said he’ll also have to wear a brace on his left knee. He said walking isn’t a problem, but the concern is about driving off his left knee during his delivery and making athletic movements like sprinting to cover first base.
“By the end of the season, I’ll have every brace known to man on every joint known to man out there,” Affeldt said. “But that’s the reality of it, and I’m prepared for that.”
For now, the Giants are prepared for life without Affeldt. Manager Bruce Bochy said Broadway will help the Giants in late-inning situations, and the Giants still have two left-handed relievers in Javier Lopez and Josh Osich, the primary left-handed setup man lately. “So it really won’t change anything,” Bochy said.
Bochy did his best to keep a sense of humor while talking about Affeldt’s injury.
“Just Jeremy being Jeremy,” he said.