SAN DIEGO – Jeremy Affeldt told trainers that his strained oblique felt fine during a 30-pitch bullpen session on Saturday, increasing the likelihood that he will be activated from the disabled list when eligible on Tuesday.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Affeldt would throw another bullpen session, likely on Monday, then be reevaluated. The Giants will decide whether Affeldt requires one more session, this time facing hitters in a simulated game environment, or if he’s deemed ready to return without taking that step.
It’s not like the Giants have an obvious candidate to demote. Right-hander Jean Machi has allowed just one hit and no walks in three scoreless appearances spanning 3 2/3 innings. Machi replaced Affeldt on the roster and he does have a minor league option.
“You always hear that they’re good decisions, and they are,” Bochy said. “But they’re tough decisions.”
It’s not likely but it’s possible that if the Giants have to use a lot of pitching between now and Tuesday, they could demote catcher Hector Sanchez and go with a 13-man staff for a time. But the starters would have to work very short outings over the next couple days, and that’s a scenario the Giants obviously do not prefer at all.
I also asked Bochy about another lefty reliever, Dan Runzler, who is throwing the absolute you-know-what out of the ball at Triple-A Fresno. After another scoreless inning Friday night, he has a 0.93 ERA and has held opponents to a .121 average in 10 appearances.
As you might recall, Runzler was incredibly upset when the Giants optioned him toward the end of the spring.
“He’s throwing great. He’s done a nice job,” Bochy said. “Good for him, and that’s where we want to get him. Hopefully he’ll sustain this success for awhile and he’ll force the issue.”
Not much other pregame news, but Bochy did reiterate that first base is not a platoon between Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias. Bochy said he only benched Belt against a couple lefties so he could give him a timeout and help him step back as he worked out of his struggles.
Belt is in there against Padres’ lefty Eric Stults. He’s 1 for 6 against him.
“He’s had pretty good at-bats against lefties,” Bochy said. He’s our everyday first baseman and he’s swinging the bat better. I’m not in a platoon here. I know his numbers don’t dictate that he should start, but he’s swinging better.”
Maybe this will be a day for Buster Posey. The numbers dictate it might be, anyway. He’s 5 for 10 with a homer and a double against Stults.