Vogelsong kicks off huge series with surging Braves
Santiago Casilla left Wednesday's game after recording the first two outs of the eighth inning. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants are a bit nicked up as they begin a four-game series with the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.
Right-hander Santiago Casilla had an MRI exam that showed a cyst in his right knee, but it’s nothing the Giants didn’t already know. Casilla dealt with occasional knee soreness because of the cyst last year, too.
Based on that experience, the club decided to eschew using the disabled list. Casilla is expected to miss a couple days and right-hander George Kontos will slide into a right-handed setup role.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Casilla didn’t let trainers know about his knee discomfort. But it became apparent to coaches that the right-hander had an injury when it took him longer than usual to get ready prior to his appearance on Wednesday. Then Casilla didn’t use his fastball while throwing eight pitches to two batters.
“I had concerns about him,” Bochy said. “Usually he’s a guy who gets ready quickly.”
At least the knee discomfort is in his push-off leg and not his landing leg, which would be harder to manage.
Meanwhile, center fielder Angel Pagan is playing through his own aches. As an MRI showed, his injury is not his hamstring but a strained adductor muscle in his groin. As Bochy acknowledged, any injury can be aggravated. But the risk is more manageable than if Pagan had a strained hamstring.
“He can go as he can tolerate the pain,” Bochy said.
Pagan said the injury doesn’t bother him running. Only when he swings left-handed.
The Giants sure hope Ryan Vogelsong can cure what’s been ailing him. He’s thrown just one quality start in six outings. Last year, he began the season with quality starts in 18 of his first 19 assignments.
Vogelsong’s 7.20 ERA is the highest in the National League among qualifying pitchers.
One quick Braves note: Manager Fredi Gonzalez is going to miss games Friday and Saturday to attend a family graduation.