Bochy considers shuffling late-inning relief roles, etc.


Bochy considers shuffling late-inning relief roles, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants landed Hunter Pence but didnt beefup their bullpen ahead of Tuesdays non-waiver trade deadline. Any deals theymake from this point are likely to be supplemental arms and not a full-fledgedcloser.

But Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he remained confident inhis late-game options.

I feel good about our situation here late in the ballgamebecause we have guys with experience, Bochy said.

BAGGARLY: Pence 'absolutely' would sign long-term with Giants

How will Bochy line up those guys, exactly? What is the pecking order?

Well, the manager acknowledged he wanted to give SantiagoCasilla and Sergio Romo some time out of the fire Tuesday night, when he hadleft-hander Jeremy Affeldt pitch the final two innings of a 4-1 victory overthe New York Mets.

Affeldt entered a 3-1 game and protected Tim Lincecumsvictory by retiring all six hitters he faced, three on strikeouts.

Since the All-Star break, Affeldt has held opponentsscoreless in eight of nine outings while holding them to a .108 average. Hesstruck out 11 and walked two in 11 23 innings.

Sounds like closer material to me.

Although Bochy didnt express a lack of confidence in Casilla, the right-hander has been scored upon in seven of 15 appearances beginning with his rough series June 22-24 at Oakland. Casilla has converted just five of 10 save chances over that run while serving up four homers, and he couldnt preserve a tie in the 10th inning of Monday nights loss to the Mets.

We'll have to see which way Bochy goes if he has a save situation tonight.

Aubrey Huff was placed back on the 15-day disabled list toclear a space on the active roster for Pence. Bochy said he didnt know howlong Huffs knee would keep him out this time.

Hector Sanchezs sprained knee passed all the tests atTriple-A Fresno and hes expected to be activated prior to Thursdays game.Bochy didnt commit to starting Sanchez, but its almost a given because BarryZito will be on the mound and its a day game after a night game.

EXTRA BAGGS: Posey welcomes pain in catching Lincecum, etc.

Bochy was asked if hell be more likely to let Buster Poseysoak up more starts at first base now that Sanchez will be on the roster again.The manager danced around the question a bit, but no doubt, it would behooveBrandon Belt to keep getting his hits.

Posey is going to catch for the most part, and Belts beenswinging better, Bochy said. But weve got a chance to get Hector, a prettygood bat in there.

Sanchez wont be appearing at first base any time soon,though. Hes been taking grounders there all season but Bochy said that PabloSandovals strained hamstring which he sustained while stretching to receivea throw at first base influenced the decision to take away Sanchezs lightlyused first basemans mitt.

You put a guy at a different position, theres a risk, tobe honest, Bochy said. I didnt think there was with Pablo, but it happened."

Sandoval could find himself back at first base when hereturns, though. If Marco Scutaro keeps hitting as the third baseman, that movewould be almost automatic.

Nate Schierholtz already has a home run in his Philliesdebut, and you fantasy leaguers already know what to do with your next supplementaldraft pick.

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for Game 2 of the four-game series in Chicago:

Giants (20-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P (4-3, 4.50 ERA)

Cubs (22-21)
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) CF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Willson Contreras (R) C
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Jon Lester (L) P (2-2, 3.57 ERA)

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

Giants notes: Blach shows resiliency; another option in center?

CHICAGO — John Lackey's night started with a leadoff homer. Ty Blach's night started with a 13-pitch battle. Neither one is a positive for a pitcher, but Blach didn't view it that way. He actually appreciated Ben Zobrist stretching him out.

"It's good to have a battle like that and get you locked in," Blach said. "It gets you focused and you'll be like, I can execute and get guys out. It's good. It's a good battle."

There, in a nutshell, is so much of what Bruce Bochy loves about his young left-hander. The Giants have found Blach's arm and resolve to be remarkably resilient. He wasn't bothered when they moved him to the bullpen and he didn't get too high when they moved him back to the rotation. He is the same after seven shutout innings or three poor ones. Bochy smiled when asked about the Zobrist at-bat, which ended in a strikeout looking. 

"How 'bout that?" the manager said. "He won that at-bat. It seems like the advantage goes to the hitter, seeing all those pitches. He kept his focus and got a called strikeout and here he is pitching in the eighth inning."

After needing 13 pitches for one out, Blach got the next 23 on 81 pitches. Bochy thought Blach tired a bit in the eighth, but the deep effort allowed Bochy to mix and match in the bullpen, and ultimately he found the right mix. Hunter Strickland and Mark Melancon closed it out and got Blach his second win.

--- From last night, Joe Panik's huge night helped give Blach an early lead. With the help of Ron Wotus and his shift charts, he also put on a show defensively.

--- We're trying something new right after the final pitch: Here are five quick takeaways from the 6-4 win.

--- The options game sent Kelby Tomlinson back to Triple-A on Wednesday when the Giants activated Melancon, but his latest stint in Sacramento comes with a twist. Tomlinson started his third consecutive game in center field on Monday. The Giants are getting a bit more serious about their longtime plan to make Tomlinson a super-utility player. 

“Tommy is a valuable guy in the majors and if we can give him some experience in the outfield, it gives you more flexibility and versatility,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

This is not Tomlinson’s first foray into the outfield. He did work there in the offseason after the 2015 season and he has played 25 big league innings in left field the last two seasons. This is Tomlinson’s first real experience with center field, and while in the past he has said that the transition isn’t as easy as some might think, Bochy is confident Tomlinson can figure it out. He certainly has the speed to be a semi-regular in the outfield, and the Giants aren’t exactly brimming with quality center field options behind Denard Span, who is dealing with his second injury of the season. 

“It’s a little different now,” Bochy said when asked about Tomlinson’s past experiences in the outfield. “He’s in Sacramento doing it, and knowing there’s a possibility we could need help in the outfield.”

If the switch doesn’t come in handy this season, it could in 2018. Bochy compared Tomlinson’s infield-outfield ability to Eduardo Nuñez, who has found regular playing time in left but is a free agent after the year. 

--- Hunter Pence did some light running in the outfield before Monday’s game. Bochy said Pence is still about a week away from being an option.

--- Bochy has said it a few times now when asked about the standings, so it’s officially a new motto for a team that got off to a brutal start: “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation for a great story.”

--- They're starting to get a little grumpy around here with their team hovering around .500. Perhaps the Cubs thought they could fool a few on the way out of Wrigley.