May 25, 2024

Giants outfielder Jung Hoo Lee dislocates left shoulder in win over Reds

The San Francisco Giants are enduring a rash of injuries to their position players over the past week. Center fielder Jung Hoo Lee appears to have sustained the most significant of the bunch on Sunday.

Lee dislocated his left shoulder when he collided with the outfield wall in the first inning of the Giants’ 6-5, 10-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Oracle Park.

The 25-year-old rookie was attempting to make a leaping catch of Jeimer Candelario’s three-run double that bounced off the top of the wall. Lee sprawled on the warning track and immediately grabbed the back of his shoulder. He walked off the field with assistance from Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner, who held Lee’s arm in place as they descended the dugout stairs.

Giants manager Bob Melvin originally reported that Lee sustained a separated shoulder, which might have indicated that he would miss weeks instead of months, but the Giants later clarified that it was, in fact, a dislocation. A dislocation is a more significant injury that often requires surgery; Boston Red Sox shortstop Trevor Story underwent season-ending surgery after dislocating his shoulder while diving for a ground ball on April 5.

Lee will undergo an MRI exam on Monday, Melvin said.

Lee was the third outfielder the Giants lost over the weekend, and the second to injure himself in a collision with the center field fence. The Giants lost Lee barely an hour after placing outfielder Michael Conforto on the 10-day injured list because of a strained hamstring he injured while running the bases. And they placed outfielder Austin Slater on the concussion list Saturday, one day after he crashed into the fence.

Lee is expected to be the Giants’ seventh player in barely a week — more than half of their position player group — to land on the injured list. Backup catcher Tom Murphy is out for four to six weeks after injuring his knee on May 4. Designated hitter Jorge Soler was placed on the IL on Wednesday because of a lingering shoulder injury. Shortstop Nick Ahmed went on the IL on Friday because of a sprained wrist. Catcher Patrick Bailey, who returned from the seven-day concussion list on Saturday, was scratched on Sunday because of flulike symptoms.

Tyler Fitzgerald replaced Lee in center field on Sunday and is among the candidates to see time at the position. Luis Matos and Heliot Ramos, who has made several fine plays in both outfielder corners since taking Soler’s roster spot on Friday, are others who stand to receive more playing opportunities. Both are already on the Giants’ active 26-man roster. The Giants’ only healthy position player options on the 40-man roster to replace Lee are third baseman David Villar, shortstop Marco Luciano and catcher Jakson Reetz.

Lee, 25, was one of the top players in Korea Baseball Organization and he signed a six-year, $113 million contract in December. He was hitting .262/.310/.331 and just beginning to heat up at the plate — he had six hits over a three-game stretch — when he fouled a ball off his foot Wednesday in Colorado. He missed two games before returning to the lineup on Sunday.

Lee hasn’t shown any fear of the outfield wall this season, flinging himself into the fence multiple times while attempting to make catches in several ballparks.

Additional reading

(Photo of Lee leaving the field after the injury: Robert Edwards / USA Today)