SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants already have three All-Star representatives, and they’ll add a fourth next Sunday – even if Hunter Pence doesn’t win the final fan vote.
Right-hander Sergio Romo is expected to be added to the club to replace one of the three NL pitchers who are scheduled to start on Sunday (Adam Wainwright, Jeff Locke and Travis Wood) and thus will be ineligible for the game at Citi Field.
“I’ve said I’ll do all I can to get Romo on the team,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will choose the final replacements.
The understanding among some Giants players, who have seen the travel itineraries, was that Romo already had made the club.
Washington’s Stephen Strasburg is another pitcher likely to be selected to replace a Sunday starter. Bochy is not allowed to make the selections until those pitchers actually throw a pitch, and a rainout is always possible if unlikely.
On the subject of rainouts, no makeup date has been agreed upon for Thursday’s postponement in Cincinnati and I’m led to believe it could be awhile before any announcement is made.
The Giants made one roster move prior to Sunday’s game, activating Chad Gaudin and optioning left-hander Mike Kickham to Triple-A Fresno. Bochy called Kickham into his office and told him he’s improved in his time with the big league club, but there were some specific things he wanted the lefty to work on in the PCL.
Kickham will return to Fresno’s rotation for now but transitioning to relief is a strong possibility down the line.
Gaudin threw a lengthy, 80-pitch session in the bullpen in Cincinnati and shouldn’t be on a pitch restriction as he returns to the rotation against Clayton Kershaw, Bochy said. Gaudin will be making his first start since June 20, when he took a line drive off his arm.
One more All-Star note: Bochy agreed that the next two pitchers the Giants face, Kershaw and the Mets’ Matt Harvey, who starts Monday at AT&T Park, are the top two candidates to get the start for the NL club.
I asked Bochy if anything that happens in these two games could influence his pick. He said “maybe slightly, but I already have a pretty good idea which way I’m going to go.”
The Mets will howl for Harvey, and maybe I’m wrong here, but my gut says Bochy will pick Kershaw. He’s got the longer track record, he’s got the Cy Young in his background, and he certainly has done enough against the Giants – a 1.33 ERA in 20 outings against them.
Santiago Casilla will pitch in back-to-back games Sunday and Monday for Triple-A Fresno. There’s still a chance he could be activated before the All-Star break.
Ryan Vogelsong continues to play catch and feel good about his progress. The original scheduled called for him to begin throwing off a mound just after the All-Star break, but it’s possible he could take that step before the break now. You can bet Vogelsong will try to push the timetable ahead if he can. He’s eager to get back, as you might imagine.
At the start of the last road trip, someone asked Bochy if he’d ever had a player bat out of order. He said no, and he had a hard time understanding how that could ever happen.
So what happened Saturday? Buster Posey batted third when the card had him hitting cleanup. There’s a new video board in the clubhouse that had Posey listed third. So it was transmitted to the PR and scoreboard staff that way. Bochy, who spent the whole morning untying knots with the All-Star roster, had the vague sense something was wrong when Posey was hitting in the first inning.
“It was a perfect storm,” Bochy said.
Posey’s RBI double was taken away as soon as Dodgers manager Don Mattingly challenged the batting order. And poor Pablo Sandoval, who was supposed to hit third, ended up getting credit for making the out. Sandoval ended the last road trip in a 1-for-30. So that did seem especially cruel, didn’t it?