SAN FRANCISCO -- Jake Peavy takes a major step in his return from a back strain on Friday by making his first rehab start with High-A San Jose. Peavy has been on the DL since April 18 and is anxious to return to the mound.
"It’s been a long road for him," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think the fact that he’s healthy and he feels good, that’s got him excited too, that he’s getting his strength back and is back to competing."
Bochy said the Giants still don’t have a target date for Peavy’s return but didn’t rule out the veteran right-hander needing just two rehab starts to get major-league ready. There is the issue of Peavy’s pitch count -- Bochy said the Giants want to get him stretched out in the minors "so when he does come back we don’t have to monitor his pitches too much."
"We’ll see where he gets this start," Bochy said. "We’ll see how he comes out of it."
* Bochy said after Wednesday night’s game he wants to make a point of giving Brandon Crawford days off after feeling he ran Crawford down a little last season. Today is one of those days. You never want to take Crawford’s defense out of the lineup, plus he leads the team with 26 RBIs.
"But he needs a break," Bochy said, pointing out the Giants have a doubleheader this weekend in Colorado and a day game Monday after a travel day. "And he’s a better player when he gets it. I think all of them are."
It doesn’t hurt when Bochy can plug Joaquin Arias into the lineup against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Arias is 12-for-37 in his career against Kershaw. In fact, he’s faced Kershaw more than any other pitcher in his major-league career.
"He’d probably like a little bit easier matchup," Bochy said of Arias. "But he’s such a good teammate. He just stays ready -- and waits for Kershaw to pitch, ’cause he figures he’s in there."
* The Giants’ full lineup against Kershaw:
And the Dodgers’ lineup against Madison Bumgarner:
RF Van Slyke
* It’s Round 3 of Kershaw-Bumgarner this season. Rounds 1 and 2 both went to the Giants. The aces have matched up five times in their careers, and the Giants have won each of the last four. Their respective career numbers in those starts:
Bumgarner: 3-1, 2.70 ERA
Kershaw: 1-3, 2.08 ERA
Kershaw also has that 0.97 lifetime ERA at AT&T Park. The Giants, meanwhile, have shut out the Dodgers each of the last two days, part of their MLB-leading seven shutouts this season.
"What a great matchup," Bochy said. "I’m looking forward to it, too."