San Francisco Giants

In season of absences, Matt Duffy has been a constant for Giants

San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Duffy in the dugout before the start of their baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in San Francisco.
San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Duffy in the dugout before the start of their baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in San Francisco. AP

SAN FRANCISCO -- Amid all the injuries the Giants have dealt with this season, there is one name manager Bruce Bochy has consistently been able to write into his lineup card.

It’s that of Matt Duffy, who didn’t even become an everyday player for the Giants until mid-May. Entering Saturday’s game against the San Diego Padres, Duffy had started 58 consecutive games at third base and played in 97 straight games overall -- the fourth-longest active games played streak behind Manny Machado (140), Kole Calhoun (131) and Charlie Blackmon (118).

The Giants’ iron man the last two and a half seasons was right fielder Hunter Pence, who had a streak of 383 consecutive games played snapped when he missed the season opener this year recovering from a broken arm. And Bochy said Duffy’s durability has reminded him in some ways of Pence.

"This kid hasn’t had a break," Bochy said. "And what’s amazing is the way he’s playing, the energy. He hasn’t slowed down a bit either. That’s incredible."

Duffy hasn’t totally avoided injury this year -- he tweaked his ankle in a game against the Chicago Cubs last month (memorably stealing second base later in the inning), but stayed in the game and didn’t miss a start, joking that given the Giants’ injury-depleted roster he wanted to avoid having Buster Posey play third base.

Meanwhile, he has maintained a .300 average entering Saturday and compiled a genuine Rookie of the Year case by leading all N.L. rookies in batting average and hits (146), and ranking second in RBIs (68), runs (64) and total bases (212).

"The consistency is what’s really been impressive," Bochy said. "I think it’s a credit to the type of shape he’s in, but also the player that he is. He’s got a great swing, a simple swing, good balance at the plate, good defender, good base-runner.

"He’s a ballplayer, and he brings it every day. He’s got the ability to get himself up every day, and that’s not easy."

Speaking of Pence, Bochy said he believes the outfielder has had a "freak season" where injuries are concerned. Pence remains sidelined by an oblique injury and hasn’t started to swing a bat, though Bochy said he has "turned it up a little bit" in other workouts. Until Pence starts swinging, though, the Giants won’t have an idea of his timetable.

Bochy didn’t have many updates about the Giants’ other injured players Saturday, other than that shortstop Brandon Crawford is "doing a lot better." Bochy said Crawford’s oblique is fine, but his left calf is still sore where he was hit by pitch last week. Crawford remains day-to-day.

Duffy, of course, is in the Giants’ lineup at third base for the 59th straight game Saturday against Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy. The rest of the Giants’ lineup:

CF Pagan

LF De Aza

3B Duffy

C Posey

1B Belt

RF Byrd

2B Tomlinson

SS Adrianza

P Bumgarner

And the Padres’ lineup against Madison Bumgarner:

CF Myers

1B Norris

RF Kemp

LF Upton

SS Gyorko

3B Solarte

C Hedges

SP Kennedy

2B Spangenberg

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