Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday the team has “some tough decisions” looming with its roster.
The crux is how long the Giants will continue to carry 13 pitchers and a four-man bench. There was some thought the Giants would go back to a 12-man staff going into their next road trip, which includes off-days Thursday and Monday.
Bochy said, though, that while the Giants would like to return to a 12-man pitching staff “at some point,” a move will “not necessarily” come before Friday.
One complication is which pitcher the Giants would send out. Chris Heston, who’s been a key stopgap amid rotation injuries, and Hunter Strickland, who hasn’t allowed a run since being recalled from Triple-A, are the only two pitchers with options remaining.
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Another candidate is right-hander Jean Machi, who had an 8.56 ERA in May but does not have options left, meaning the Giants would have to risk putting him through waivers and having another team claim him. Asked Tuesday about Machi, Bochy said it looks like Machi is simply leaving too many pitches up.
“His velocity’s fine, so there’s no issue going on with the arm,” Bochy said. “But we like to keep that arm angle consistent on all his pitches, and you can see it dropping a little bit at times.
“But a lot of that’s confidence, too. You lose your confidence a little bit, and you start to overthrow out there, and it causes you to elevate. You’ve just got to back off a little, and concentrate a little bit more on commanding the pitches.”
There’s also the question of whom the Giants would bring up to bolster their bench. One candidate is Casey McGehee, who was designated for assignment on May 24. McGehee has been hitting at Triple-A – he just went 8-for-16 with two home runs in a four-game series at Colorado Springs, albeit in a hitter’s environment. The Giants can officially call McGehee up starting Thursday.
Bochy said that he, GM Bobby Evans and VP of Baseball Operations Brian Sabean would likely get together Tuesday night to discuss “what our next move is here with this roster.”
* The Giants’ lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates:
And the Pirates’ lineup:
Notes – Matt Cain is scheduled to travel to Arizona Tuesday and throw three innings – roughly 45 pitches – in a rehab start at extended spring training. It’ll be Cain’s first rehab start, and Bochy said: “To actually be facing hitters, I’ve got to think he’s pretty pumped about it.”
Jake Peavy (back) played catch on flat ground Tuesday, but Bochy said there’s nothing new with Peavy regarding the timing of his next rehab start.
* The Giants face a left-hander Wednesday, and Bochy said Buster Posey will play first base with Andrew Susac catching. Justin Maxwell could start if Angel Pagan or Nori Aoki needs a day off. Bochy said he’ll make that decision after Tuesday’s game.
Typically, facing a lefty would give Bochy a built-in reason to rest some of his other left-handed hitters. “The problem I have with my lefties,” he said, “is they hit lefties well.”
* The Giants’ upcoming road trip includes their visit to the White House as the defending World Series champions. That takes place on Thursday’s off-day. It should be especially interesting for two players – Maxwell and Aoki – who last season were employed by the team the Giants beat in the Series, the Kansas City Royals.
Aoki, for one, said through interpreter Kosuke Inaji that he won’t be shy about being part of the visit.
“I’m thinking about wearing my American League championship ring,” he said, grinning.