SAN FRANCISCO -- Santiago Casilla's recovery from a strained hamstring took a major step on Thursday when the right-handed reliever pitched one inning starting for the Single-A San Jose Giants.
Casilla was dominant, striking out the side in order.
The plan remains for Casilla to throw two more Single-A innings on Saturday before he is re-evaluated. There's a good chance he'll be activated Tuesday when the Giants begin a two-game road series against the Chicago White Sox.
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George Kontos, the only Giants reliever with a minor league option, and outfielder Juan Perez are the two most likely candidates to depart when Casilla is ready, depending whether the team wants to return to a 13-man pitching staff.
Barring any setbacks, he appears on pace to return at the early end of his original four-to-six week diagnosis.
"No question, I thought the worst when he went down," manager Bruce Bochy said. "The way he was rolling around and screaming in pain, I thought something had detached from the bone."
Casilla, 33, was 1-1 with a 1.37 ERA over 22 appearances before he was injured legging out a ground ball in Colorado on May 21.