San Francisco Giants

Giants pre-game notes: Decision nears with Affeldt close to return

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have a decision to make soon with reliever Jeremy Affeldt nearing his return from the disabled list.

Affeldt pitched two scoreless innings Saturday night in a rehab appearance with High-A San Jose. Manager Bruce Bochy said the left-hander threw 22 pitches and kept the ball down well, and the Giants’ staff will get together soon to figure out when they’ll activate Affeldt and what the corresponding move will be.

Bochy said there’s a possibility the Giants could keep 13 pitchers when Affeldt returns and send down one of their bench position players. For one thing, the current bullpen has been very good -- the unit has a 0.90 ERA (five runs, three earned, allowed in 30 innings) in the last 10 games. For another, Bochy has already had to go to the bullpen early a few times due to short outings from Giants starters -- something that, if it becomes a trend, could lead to early burnout.

As Bochy pointed out, having some off-days early has helped mitigate the workload, but there will be less of those over the next few weeks. Affeldt won’t be available for at least a couple of days after throwing two innings -- and Bochy said there’s a chance he could still need another rehab game -- so the Giants have some time to discuss the move.

Bochy was asked if Michael Morse playing deeper into games in left field recently may make Juan Perez expendable, but Bochy said he didn’t want to "jump to a conclusion" right now. Perez started Friday night with Angel Pagan getting a day off but before that had played just three innings since April 5, and Gregor Blanco can provide a late-game replacement for Morse if necessary.

Here’s the Giants’ lineup for today’s rubber game against the Colorado Rockies:

CF Pagan

1B Belt

3B Sandoval

C Posey

RF Pence

LF Morse

SS Crawford

2B Hicks

P Hudson

And the Rockies’ lineup against Hudson:

CF Blackmon

RF Cuddyer

LF Gonzalez

SS Tulowitzki

1B Morneau

C Rosario

3B Arenado

2B LeMahieu

P Chatwood

* Belt is back in after getting Saturday off. After a torrid start, Belt is 2 for his last 13, but Bochy reiterated that resting Belt in the middle game of the series was as much about giving Buster Posey a second consecutive day off from catching (Posey started at first) as about giving Belt a mental break.

* Bochy also voiced more support of Pablo Sandoval, who remains in the No. 3 spot with a .152 average. "He’s actually had some hard luck," Bochy said, citing Sandoval’s hitting a double and just missing another on Saturday.

* Hudson hasn’t issued a walk in his first two starts of the season, a span of 15 2/3 innings. The last Giants pitcher to do that was Atlee Hammaker in 1983 -- Hammaker went 21 consecutive innings without a walk to start the year.

* It’s Hunter Pence’s 31st birthday. What, you thought he’d take the day off?

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