SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he came in Thursday morning prepared to start outfielder Juan Perez at second base against the Chicago Cubs. Matt Duffy spared him that decision.
Duffy sprained his right ankle in the first inning Wednesday night, but played the rest of that game and is in the lineup again for Thursday’s series finale. Duffy said this morning his ankle is still sore, but swelling is minimal. And he had little intention of letting it keep him out of the lineup.
"I told them last night I wasn’t really interested in having a day off," Duffy said. "Like I said, I’m aware of our roster situation."
The Giants are already missing middle infielders Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik, along with outfielders Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan. Gregor Blanco, who was held out of the lineup Wednesday with a left hip strain, said he’s feeling better Thursday and is available off the bench for both pinch-hitting and defense.
Duffy was injured Wednesday getting back to first base on a pickoff throw from Chicago catcher Miguel Montero. The ball caught Duffy on the outside of his right ankle, and then he locked feet with Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Duffy said the ball hitting "kinda did me a favor, cause it numbed it up a little bit."
The Cubs then picked over to first base on the very next throw. Duffy took note. Later in the at-bat, he stole second base.
"The pickoff got me a little amped up there," Duffy said.
Duffy has the ankle heavily wrapped in tape, but said he has sprained that ankle before and this "wasn’t as bad." Bochy said he thought Duffy was "doubtful" for today, "But he’s good to go."
Had Duffy needed to come out of Wednesday night’s game, Bochy said, Buster Posey might have had to play third base. Posey said it would have been his first time at third since he played in the Cape Cod League nearly 10 years ago.
Duffy was aware of that, too.
"We’re trying to win games," Duffy said with a grin. "I don’t want Buster playing third base."
* The Giants’ injury rundown, as provided by Bochy this morning:
Blanco, as mentioned, could be used in a double-switch after not being available for defense Wednesday night. Bochy said he just didn’t want to take the chance of starting Blanco today, having something happen and needing to make an in-game move with the Giants’ bench already limited.
Crawford is "improving" but "might be another day or two" recovering from tightness in his left oblique.
Panik took ground balls and ran on the field Thursday morning and is on schedule to take batting practice for the first time this weekend. The second baseman (back inflammation) isn’t expected to return until late in the next road trip.
Pagan was en route to San Francisco on Thursday morning after playing eight innings for Triple-A Sacramento in Omaha on Wednesday night. Bochy said Pagan "came out of that fine," and it sounds like Pagan could be activated as early as Friday.
Pence is "still in rehab mode" with an oblique strain and has not been able to resume any baseball activities. Bochy said Pence is taking the injury hard and "feels like he’s letting the team down," but stressed there’s little Pence could have done to avoid his injury.
Finally, Bochy said there has been no decision made to alter the rotation as of now. Matt Cain is still listed as the starter for Sunday.
* The Giants’ lineup Thursday against Cubs right-hander Dan Haren:
And the Cubs’ lineup against Madison Bumgarner:
* Finally, Bochy shared an interesting tidbit about Bumgarner and his competitiveness. Last week in St. Louis, Bochy said the pitcher up to pinch-hit with the Giants down one and two outs in the ninth inning against Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal. Bumgarner struck out, ending the game.
"He came into my office after the game and he felt like he lost the game," Bochy said. "He felt horrible. I said, ‘You’re kidding me, right?" Again, that’s his makeup."
Again, that’s a starting pitcher, sent up to pinch-hit with the Giants down to their last out against one of the best closers in the game, essentially apologizing for not tying the game with a home run. If you still wondered whether Bumgarner takes hitting seriously -- don’t.