Giants note: Nady tests hamstring; Hensley nears return

September 11, 2012, 12:04 am
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DENVER -- The Giants have so many players on their active roster that traveling secretary Bret Alexander had trouble getting enough rooms to cover the entire traveling party.

(Getting a cot for Yusmeiro Petit is not allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, apparently.)

The Giants will add their 37th active player Tuesday when right-hander Clay Hensley comes off the disabled list. Hensley threw in the bullpen and his strained groin passed the tests.

The addition of Hensley will give the Giants a 14-man bullpen, and don't laugh. You can never have too many pitchers on a six-game trip to Colorado and Arizona. In fact, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he expects to need quite a few innings from the less frequently used relievers on staff such as Brad Penny, Dan Runzler, etc.

Even in a game like Sunday, when the Giants held a four-run lead and the starting pitcher lasted into the seventh, Bochy ended up using five relievers. This is the matchup-based world we're living in, and it involves plenty more warmup tosses than the past when the bullpen had more neatly defined roles.

So it'll be important that Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez and the other late-game options get full days off from time to time.

In other news, Xavier Nady jogged and did some agility work in the outfield to test his strained hamstring. Trainers put him at just 60 percent, Bochy said. Nady might be available to pinch hit, but the Giants are really hoping he'll be OK for this weekend's series at Arizona. That's because the Diamondbacks are scheduled to throw three left-handers (Tyler Skaggs, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin) at Chase Field.

Actually, it'll be four consecutive lefties because the Rockies have Jeff Francis down to pitch on Wednesday. But Coors Field is the last place to start a left fielder with a balky hamstring.

Bochy acknowledged that Nady would resume his role as the left fielder against left-handed pitchers once he's healthy. Until then, Gregor Blanco is being relied upon.

I spoke with Giants vice president Bobby Evans for a Baseball America season wrap that will be published in another week or two.

A couple tidbits: Brett Bochy threw a couple of bullpen sessions that convinced club officials that his shoulder issue was nothing more than fatigue, and he should be ready to go this spring.

Also, Clayton Blackburn is a name you should know. If he's unfamiliar to you, Blackburn is a 19-year-old whom the Giants drafted in the 16th round out of an Oklahoma high school last year. He immediately signed and did very well in the Arizona League, then went 8-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 22 starts for Low-A Augusta this year (plus an ungodly 143-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 131.1 innings).

He has a really advanced feel for pitching given his young age, and while he doesn't throw nearly as hard as Kyle Crick, his stuff should play quite well at higher levels. It certainly did when he was called up as a ringer to pitch for Single-A San Jose in the Cal League playoffs.

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