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Giants’ Evan Longoria suffers hand fracture

The veteran third baseman will miss extended time after being hit on the hand by a pitch Thursday afternoon.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals Photo by Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Giants third baseman Evan Longoria suffered a fractured fifth metacarpal — the same injury that plagued San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner for the first two months of the season — as the team told reporters, including The Mercury News’ Kerry Crowley, after Thursday’s win over the Marlins:

Longoria exited Thursday’s game in the fourth inning after being hit on the hand by a Dan Straily pitch. He was replaced by Alen Hanson, who will likely combine with Pablo Sandoval to fill the void in Longoria’s absence. With Sandoval currently helping to fill the void at first base as Brandon Belt recovers from an appendectomy, utility player Austin Slater — who has posted an insane .355/.437/.574 slash line in 46 Triple-A games this season — seems like a prime candidate to be recalled and receive some playing time at first until Belt returns.

Following Thursday’s game, Longoria was still unsure whether he would need surgery, as Crowley tweeted. But whether he chooses to rehab it or have it surgically repaired, it’s clear that he’ll be out for at least several weeks, and more likely a month or two. Though Hanson and Sandoval have both played very well in reserve and fill-in duty this year, the Giants will have to hope that both keep it up over the long term — and that Belt, who ranks second in the NL with a .950 OPS but hasn’t played since June 1, returns sooner than later.

By his standards, the 32-year-old Longoria has struggled in his first season with the Giants. He’s posted a .246/.278/.434 slash line with 57 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 268 plate appearances, and though he has 10 homers — a total that ranks second on the team and is one more than all Giants third basemen combined hit in 2017 — his struggles with getting on base consistently have obviously been an issue. Though he’s a three-time Gold Glover at third base, he’s also had issues on defense; he leads the National League with 11 errors, and his -2 defensive runs saved and -8.7 UZR/150 rank near the bottom of the league.