SAN FRANCISCO – Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks after an MRI exam showed a moderate strain of his left groin.
The Giants placed Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Jean Machi, who arrived by private car from Triple-A Fresno. Manager Bruce Bochy said bullpen roles would be unchanged, citing the fact that he’d already moved left-hander Jose Mijares and right-hander Sandy Mijares into more leveraged setup duties as he let Affeldt try to work through some of his struggles.
Still, Affeldt is an important part of the bullpen because of his ability to miss both right- and left-handed bats, and his absence is likely to intensify the search for a reliever on the trade market.
Affeldt said he’s been pitching with groin discomfort over the past few years and has received treatment for it, but he’s remained pitchable over that span.
“As far as I know, he’s been good to go,” Bochy said. “It’s too bad this happened. … Jeremy’s valuable in the fact you can use him anywhere.”
The club is about to become more reliant than ever on Mijares, who was acquired on waivers last August. The club also acquired a lefty midsummer in 2010, when they got Javier Lopez from the Pirates – a move that was prompted by another time that Affeldt landed on the DL in late July of that year.
Lopez has helped Mijares develop a drop-down slider that he’s been throwing for just two weeks, but hasn’t been afraid to trot out in some big situations. He used it to strike out Adam Eaton with the bases loaded Saturday night, and also broke it out when he worked out of Chad Gaudin’s bases-loaded, no-out jam in San Diego last week.
“He wants to be out there and that’s what you like about him,” Bochy said of Mijares, who has allowed just one run over his last 12 outings and is holding opponents to a .154 average with runners in scoring position this year.
The Giants don’t necessarily need to target a lefty again, since they have Lopez and Mijares. (Don't forget they have Dan Runzler on the 40-man roster, too, and while he's having a rough season at Fresno, his stuff is too good to forget about him if he gets on a roll.)
But another dependable arm wouldn’t be a bad idea, particularly given the struggles the Giants have seen from George Kontos and Machi, who began to hang his splitter after getting off to such a good start.
Bochy said Machi might have been overused and it caught up to him. He said he’s confident Machi would be fresher now.
The Reds announced that former Rockies lefty Greg Reynolds would start Game 2 of Tuesday’s doubleheader. The Giants remain undecided, officially – and not just about the second game.
Even though the game notes list Barry Zito as the Game 1 starter, Bochy said he hasn’t decided which game Zito would pitch.
Remember, the Giants will act as the road team for Game 1 – and the Giants are 0-8 in Zito’s road starts this season. He has a 9.89 ERA in road grays, and yes, the Giants will wear gray uniforms for the first game. They’ll bat first as well. (No, they’re not switching dugouts or clubhouses. And they DEFINITELY won’t serve Skyline Chili anywhere at AT&T Park.)
Call it superstition or psychology or a little of both. But if I know Bochy, he’ll pitch Zito in Game 2 just to be safe.
Bochy expected to announce the other starter after Sunday’s game. I’d be surprised if it’s anyone other than left-hander Eric Surkamp, who has completed his rehab from Tommy John surgery and would be making his first big league appearance since the final game of the 2011 season.
If the Giants win today, it would mean a resurgent sweep over the Diamondbacks of course. But it also would be Bochy’s 1,500th career victory.
He’d become the 21st manager to join that club, and 12 of them are in the Hall of Fame. Three others – Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre – are locks to be enshrined. And you can make cases for Lou Piniella, Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker, too.
Put another way: Every manager with 1,500 wins and multiple World Series championships is in the Hall, with the exception of La Russa and Torre. And it’s a matter of time for both of them. Perhaps for Bochy, too.