Reliever Cory Gearrin is close to being ready to rejoin the Giants. But the Giants have to find a spot for him first.
Gearrin, who landed on the disabled list July 6 because of a shoulder strain, was at AT&T Park on Monday getting checked by team doctors and is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night for Triple-A Sacramento. After that, the right-hander could be ready to be activated. Gearrin has already made seven rehab outings, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings.
The Giants, though, are facing a bit of a roster crunch. Their 25-man roster does not offer much flexibility in terms of players with options who aren’t performing. And Gearrin is out of minor-league options, meaning the Giants can’t just activate him from the DL and send him to Triple A, as they did with Kelby Tomlinson earlier this year.
Gearrin had worked his way into an eighth-inning role before getting hurt, and his ERA was 2.80 before he allowed five runs in his last two outings before going on the DL.
It’s an arm the Giants can use, especially after Sunday’s bullpen meltdown against the Orioles. But they may need to get creative to bring Gearrin back – possibly by putting a current player with a minor but nagging injury on the DL. It would only be for two weeks until rosters expand Sept. 1.
Despite Sunday’s 8-7 loss, manager Bruce Bochy voiced his support before Monday’s game for his bullpen as a whole and closer Santiago Casilla, who blew his sixth save by allowing a three-run homer in the ninth to Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop.
Casilla has worked two days in a row, throwing one pitch Saturday to record the last out of a Giants win. Bochy said he would check with Casilla, but if the right-hander is able to pitch he will be on the mound in a save situation again Monday.
"I like to look at the body of work that he’s been doing recently and it’s been really, really good," Bochy said. "That’s, I think, the best way to look at it. Same with the other (bullpen) guys … This bullpen has shown how good it can be."
▪ Matt Moore will make his first home start as a Giant on Monday, and he’ll throw to catcher Trevor Brown. Buster Posey is not in the lineup after being scratched Sunday because of lower-back tightness.
"I think it’s just another day," Bochy said. "We’re a little better served giving him one more day to get this thing cleared up so it doesn’t linger."
Posey pinch-hit in the ninth inning Sunday, and Bochy said he should be available off the bench again Monday.
Moore is in something of a strange situation, in that Monday’s crowd will probably be cheering just as much for the opposing pitcher. Ryan Vogelsong, the former Giants right hander, starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bochy said he didn’t expect it to be too weird facing Vogelsong, pointing out this is not the first time in his career Vogelsong has worn a Pirates uniform. But he said he expects Vogelsong, who helped the Giants win two of their World Series titles, to get a loud ovation in his return.
"He did a lot of good things here," Bochy said. "Good teammate, good Giant, Vogey was very popular in this clubhouse, very well respected. I think he’ll get a nice hand."
▪ On the rehab front, outfielder Mac Williamson was scheduled to play seven innings on Monday and reliever Josh Osich was to throw one inning, both at Triple-A Sacramento. Osich’s return is not as imminent as Gearrin’s. Bochy said he "needs some more work."