Help on the way for injured veteran rehab in Triple-A – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SAN FRANCISCO — The Yankees had six former All-Stars in their lineup Saturday night. The Giants responded with a game featuring five players who were in Triple-A earlier this season, but help should be on the way soon.

Austin Slater, Nick Ahmed and Michael Conforto moved into the top three spots on Triple-A Sacramento’s roster Saturday on rehab assignments. Slater had two hits and Conforto drew a walk, while Ahmed was 0 for 3 in his first game since May 9.

Conforto appears to be the closest to a return, and manager Bob Melvin said Saturday that the plan all along was for him to play two games and then return to San Francisco to be evaluated. Barring a setback, it seems likely the Giants will try to get him back into the lineup Monday in Arizona.

The Giants will have to find a way to keep Heliot Ramos on the field when Conforto returns, but it doesn’t seem that difficult at the moment. Luis Matos calmed down and on Saturday a day off was given to struggling DH Jorge Soler, who took early BP with the hitting coaches.

It also shouldn’t be too difficult to bring Ahmed back when he’s fully recovered from a sprained wrist. Marco Luciano entered the IL Friday with a hamstring strain and Ahmed will be physically ready ahead of the 22-year-old, who did a good job at the plate but struggled defensively. The Giants plan to go with some combination of Ahmed and Brett Wisely when they return at full strength.

Wisely started at second base Saturday because Thairo Estrada has a sore thumb. He is 11 for 31 with seven RBIs and Melvin said the quality of his at-bats has been “fantastic.”

“For him, it’s all about hitting,” Melvin said. “Sometimes when you get to the big leagues you want to do a little too much. That hasn’t really been the case for him. He’s swung the bat really well everywhere we put him in the lineup, he had to play a position (shortstop) that he knows maybe perfectly offensively, he was excellent throughout the game.”

Slater was the first to begin a rehab assignment, but it’s possible he’ll have more at-bats than the others as he recovers from a concussion. Slater had just 39 at-bats before crashing into the center field wall and Melvin said earlier this week that the Giants wanted him to find his rhythm at the plate before returning. Slater is 3 for 13 so far with the River Cats.

High task

After hitting two homers earlier in the game Friday, Aaron Judge flew out to right against Sean Hjelle in the eighth. This was the second matchup between the 6-foot-11 Hjelle and the 6-foot-7 Judge, but actually, they’re not among the top three in MLB in terms of matchups you’d expect to find on a field of basket ball.

Randy Johnson (6 feet 10 inches) and Daniel Cabrera (6 feet 9 inches) hold the unofficial record for a batter-pitcher matchup with the most combined height. John Rauch (6-foot-11) vs. Richie Sexson (6-foot-8) and Mark Hendrickson (6-foot-9) vs. Chris Young (6-foot-10) round out the top three. Hjelle also faced 6-foot-7 Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Oneil Cruz this year, although he will have to wait until a top prospect reaches the MLB to try to break the record. There is currently no hitter listed as being taller than Judge or Oneil.

Scheduled surgery

Jung Hoo Lee will finally have surgery on his dislocated left shoulder next Tuesday in Los Angeles, under the direction of Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Lee is expected to make a full recovery by early next spring.

Melvin said Lee would remain with the team and rehab in San Francisco. The 25-year-old finished his rookie year with a .641 OPS and two home runs in 37 appearances.

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