Giant pain: Crawford sits; Cueto's next start in jeopardy

Giant pain: Crawford sits; Cueto's next start in jeopardy

LOS ANGELES -- The Giants avoided worst-case scenarios regarding the injuries to right-hander Johnny Cueto and shortstop Brandon Crawford. However, Crawford will miss some playing time -- his unwanted rest began with Wednesday night's series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers -- and Cueto was rated as "questionable" for his scheduled start Sunday at San Diego.

Cueto strained his left groin while following through in his throwing motion and Crawford dislocated his left pinkie while sliding headfirst into third base during San Francisco's 2-0 victory over the Dodgers on Monday.

San Francisco can ill-afford to lose either player for any period of time during the regular season's final week. The Giants entered Wednesday tied with the Mets and Cardinals atop the National League Wild Card standings.

Cueto exits with groin strain

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Cueto (17-5), the leading winner in San Francisco's starting rotation, could miss up to a week. That would force Cueto to skip Sunday's start. Though Bochy did not name potential alternatives to Cueto, he indicated that the choices are obvious. They are:

Jake Peavy (2016 record: 5-9, 5.51 ERA in 30 games, including 21 starts). Injuries and ineffectiveness have combined to hamper Peavy in what's likely his final season with the Giants. Peavy wouldn't be expected to work deep into the game. He hasn't started since July 30 and hasn't pitched since Sept. 10.

Matt Cain (4-8, 5.56, 20 games, 17 starts). As has been the case with Peavy, ailments and slumps have hounded Cain, formerly the staff ace. Bochy was encouraged by Cain's one-inning relief outing last Sunday against St. Louis, but the right-hander hasn't started since he yielded six runs in 4 2/3 innings on Aug. 17 against Pittsburgh.

Ty Blach (14-7, 3.43 in 26 starts at Triple-A). Blach made an impressive Major League debut on Sept. 5 at Colorado, allowing one hit in three scoreless innings. However, that's the lefty's lone appearance for the Giants.

A scheduled off-day on Monday, Sept. 26 creates another possibility for the Giants. They can employ their well-stocked bullpen on Sunday, then start Cueto on Tuesday, if he has healed sufficiently.

Crawford, San Francisco's leading run producer with 80 RBIs, is striving to accelerate his recovery.

"I'm doing as much treatment as I can," he said.

Crawford has sought advice from second baseman Joe Panik, who endured a similar injury in 2014. Panik rested for two days, including a scheduled off-day, before returning to San Francisco's lineup.

Crawford, the NL's reigning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner at shortstop, admitted that he'll likely have to play through pain. "Probably for the rest of the season, it'll be a little bit sore," he said.

Said Bochy, "As soon as he thinks he's ready, he'll be out there."

Predictably, utility infielder Ehire Adrianza started at shortstop on Wednesday and is likely to remain there as Crawford is unavailable.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.