Affeldt has strained knee ligament, will start season on DL

Affeldt has strained knee ligament, will start season on DL
March 26, 2014, 5:00 pm
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Jeremy Affeldt has been plagued by a variety of injuries since signing a three-year, $18 million deal following the 2012 season. (AP)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt will start the season on the disabled list after tests showed a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Affeldt did not travel with the team on the flight to San Francisco as the Giants broke camp following a 8-6 comeback victory over the Colorado Rockies at Scottsdale Stadium. The left-hander hadn’t pitched since Saturday, when he gave up four runs at Camelback Ranch and angrily stomped off the field.

Bochy said Affeldt’s knee flared up during that appearance. He’s expected to miss 10 days to two weeks.

“He didn’t have his brace on,” Bochy said.

The Giants are taking three extra pitchers for the Bay Bridge exhibition games – Dan Runzler, Heath Hembree and Erik Cordier – who already had been sent down to minor league camp. Bochy said those pitchers aren’t viewed as candidates to make the opening-day roster, although things can change.

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The chief competition, then, is among five relievers for four spots. Yusmeiro Petit and David Huff are all but locks given the Giants’ preference to carry long relievers. Jean Machi is on the 40-man roster and out of options. If he makes the team, then Affeldt’s injury would open a spot for either Derek Law or Juan Gutierrez, the two remaining non-roster pitchers in camp.

It’s possible Law and Gutierrez could both make the club if Machi does not, but the Giants currently have just one vacancy on the 40-man roster and they’ll need it to purchase the contract of infielder Brandon Hicks. 

Law hasn’t pitched above Class A but mowed down hitters in the Arizona Fall League. Gutierrez, 30, had a 5.19 ERA in 28 games for the Angels last season and served as Arizona’s part-time closer as recently as 2010.

As for Affeldt, this injury has to be frustrating for him. He is coming off a wretched season after signing a three-year, $18 million deal, but was confident that groin surgery in September corrected the issues that led to multiple strains and injuries over the past few years.

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