LOS ANGELES – Definitely, felt the pressure too much.
On his debut against the Dodgers, in his first game as a full-in fill-in for injured shortstop Brandon Crawford, and in his first month with the Giants, infielder Thyro Estrada stepped up to the plate on Monday night and broke . game open.
With the Giants leading 4–2 in the top of the seventh inning, Estrada drilled a double in the left-field corner, scoring a pair of runs that eventually helped secure a 7–2 victory.
What was that about pressure?
“It’s a shame that something like this happened to (Brandon) Crawford, but I’ve been in this scenario before,” Estrada said Tuesday via Spanish-language interpreter Nick Ortiz. “I played with the Yankees.”
The stakes don’t seem too big for Estrada, who looks like a seasoned veteran in the batsman’s box since making his first debut with the club against the Diamondbacks on July 2. It was a three-hit performance capped by a ninth inning Grand Slam that showed the Giants that Estrada plays with impressive confidence.
Monday’s two-run double confirmed more of what the Giants have seen from Estrada so far.
“It was an example of who (Estrada) has been here since he was,” manager Gabe Kapler said after the Giants’ win. “He’s a handsome man and I don’t think Crawford is going down for us to see this. We’ve seen it since he’s been in the big leagues for us. He’s hungry.”
Things have changed in New York since Estrada’s debut during the 2019 season, but he reached the majors on his 23rd birthday for the Yankees team that won 103 games. The lights were bright, the stage was spacious and the spotlight would highlight any flaws.
Estrada was initially called up in April 2019 and spent much of the year bouncing between Triple-A and the majors as a bench appearance. Few players are introduced into the big leagues between pennant races, but critical games can quickly isolate those who can handle the pressure and who are unwilling to make adjustments.
The Venezuelan proved capable as he batted .250 with .732 OPS while playing in four different positions, but he never started on a consistent basis and ended up with a small 48 at-bat sample in 2020. Struggled with size. Short of the man roster at the start of the season, general manager Brian Cashman determined that Estrada was expendable and was named for the assignment.
It’s rare that 24-year-olds who were once highly regarded prospects become available on Waver Wire, so the Giants acted quickly to acquire Estrada as they added the versatile right-handed hitter to their 40-man roster. Sent New York Cash idea to add. in April.
Estrada also played a big part in being shot in the hip during a robbery attempt in his hometown in January 2018.
“Someone came up to me, asked me for some money, and I said I only had my cell phone and credit card,” Estrada said. “The boy couldn’t believe me, so he decided to shoot at me.”
After being named a Double-A All-Star in 2017 as a 21-year-old, gunshot wounds and other injuries limited Estrada to just 18 games in 2018. He attempted to make his major league debut the following season, but still has not started five consecutive games in the major leagues.
That is likely to change this week as the second injured list of Crawford’s career leaves Estrada as the only shortstop on the Giants’ active roster.
“It’s a great opportunity to be consistent, show what I can do here and hopefully stay here for a long time,” Estrada said.
Both Kapler and Estrada pointed to better plate discipline, which they have shown during the 2021 season, as aggressive adjustments have made them a more complete hitter. While his best defensive position may still be second base, Estrada spent much of his minor league career playing shortstop in a Yankees outfit looking for a successor to Derek Jeter, one of his childhood baseball idols. was one of
Whether it’s at the plate or in the field, Estrada isn’t overwhelmed. He never got an extended opportunity to prove himself, but he needs to perform to land a job with first-place clubs, shortly off the bench in both New York and San Francisco.
If the first few games with the Estrada giants are any indication of what’s to come, the club could be able to face the 10- to 14-day break that Crawford hopes to take.