The Giants’ two rehabbing Tims – Hudson and Lincecum – both threw bullpen sessions on Tuesday, but it sounds like one is closer to returning than the other.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said this morning that Hudson (shoulder strain) could make a rehab appearance with Triple A Sacramento as early as Friday. Hudson has been on the DL since July 27.
Lincecum, meanwhile, will need at least one more bullpen session before the Giants start to “ramp up” his throwing, Bochy said.
“He’s not quite ready, to be honest,” Bochy said. “I can’t say he’s real close.”
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At the moment, the Giants don’t appear to have a spot for either pitcher on their staff. Right-hander Mike Leake, whose acquisition cost Hudson a rotation spot, is also on the DL right now, but Bochy said he expects Leake (hamstring) to be ready to return when he’s eligible on Aug. 18.
Ryan Vogelsong will start in place of Leake in the series opener against the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.
Hudson has told the Giants he would be open to pitching in relief, and Bochy notably did not refer to Hudson’s likely rehab appearance this weekend as a “start.” While Bochy did say Hudson could join the River Cats on Friday, Sacramento is on the road that night. But they begin a homestand on Saturday, which could make more sense for Hudson and the Giants logistically.
▪ Bochy has needed to fill the No. 2 spot in his lineup with Joe Panik out, and Tuesday night he opted to bump Matt Duffy up, with Buster Posey third and Hunter Pence fourth. Bochy said this morning he’ll likely “take a look at this for a few days.” Duffy had been batting third regularly.
The Giants’ lineup today against Astros right-hander Scott Feldman:
And the Astros’ lineup against Giants right-hander Chris Heston:
▪ Catcher Andrew Susac is in San Francisco today to be evaluated by doctors after going 1-for-4 in a rehab assignment with Class A San Jose on Tuesday night. Susac said his sprained right thumb felt fine in his four at-bats, and though he did not catch Tuesday, he doesn’t expect any problems throwing.
Susac was San Jose’s DH on Tuesday because he was still recovering from a root canal. He said the procedure was on the same tooth where he had a root canal in spring training that knocked him out for a few days.
▪ Heston lasted just four innings in his last start in Chicago against the Cubs. But Bochy said he thought it could have been worse after Heston was “really out of sync” the first two innings, and he credited the right-hander with recovering at least to get the Giants through the fourth.
The bullpen was taxed heavily in that series, but has had two full days off with Monday’s off-day and Madison Bumgarner’s complete game Tuesday night. Still, the Giants likely wouldn’t mind a longer outing from Heston today.