Giants notes: Gearrin placed on DL, Bochy confident in return

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Giants notes: Gearrin placed on DL, Bochy confident in return

SAN FRANCISCO -- After his bullpen blew a lead Tuesday night, Giants manager Bruce Bochy promised to get with coaches Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner to discuss bullpen changes. The staff did meet, and a new reliever was added, but not because of anyone's struggles. 

Cory Gearrin was put on the disabled list Wednesday with a strained right shoulder and Albert Suarez was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Bochy said the training staff is confident that Gearrin will need just the two weeks. The sore shoulder is something he has dealt with in the past.

"It was going to be a few days (off) so we placed him on the DL to get this cleared up," Bochy said. "He's had a good first half and been used quite a bit. I don't think he was saying anything, but it was affecting his slider. It was obvious."

Gearrin was a revelation early on but his ERA has crept up to 3.89 thanks to a rough stretch. He gave up a go-ahead three-run homer to Nolan Arenado on a hanging slider Tuesday. 

Bochy hopes the break is good for Gearrin. The manager has said many times in the past that he wishes he could give all relievers a two-week rest during the season, but it's just not possible. Bochy's current group certainly can use the All-Star break. Four relievers rank in the top 18 in the National League in appearances. 

"We know we've been using these guys a lot," Bochy said. "We've had our struggles. We've had to pick up some guys, so that upped the usage."

--- Matt Cain will throw about 65 pitches for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday and Bochy said he'll make one more rehab appearance. With two days off on the first trip out of the break, it's possible that the Giants could skip the No. 5 spot and let Cain get additional work down in the minors. Bochy indicated that he might do that at least once. 

--- Matt Duffy ran on a treadmill and then took BP on the field, and he could start a rehab assignment during the break. But he won't be ready for the second-half opener next Friday night in San Diego. 

--- Bochy said Hunter Pence is "coming along and right on pace." It sounds like he could start a rehab assignment sometime next week. 

--- Gregor Blanco (knee) is feeling better and is available to pinch-hit tonight. Denard Span took early BP and said a trigger injection in his neck did wonders. He should start Friday. 

--- Jake Smith was claimed by the Padres, so the Giants lost a good arm during all this shuffling. Smith had a breakout 2015 but has struggled this season because of injuries. He was designated for assignment last week to clear a 40-man spot for Grant Green.

--- In case you missed it, I talked to Joe Panik about his concussion and the decision to continue playing. 

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

D'backs release former Giants outfielder

Editor's Note: The above video was recorded following Matt Cain's perfect game in 2012.

Gregor Blanco's bid to make the Arizona Diamondbacks' Opening Day roster is over.

The former Giants outfielder was released on Monday, Arizona announced.

Blanco had been dealing with an oblique injury and had played since March 21.

In 14 Cactus League games, Blanco went 9-for-40 (.225) with one double and three triples.

Blanco spent five years with the Giants and was part of the World Series winning teams in 2012 and 2014. During his time in San Francisco, the 33-year-old hit .259/.338/.360 with 78 doubles, 24 triples and 157 RBI in 649 games.

The D'backs signed Blanco to a minor league deal in January.

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

Giants spring training Day 43: A big game for veteran trying to lock up OF job

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For the first time, Gorkys Hernandez did not go back to Venezuela in the offseason to play winter ball. He's hoping that leads to another first. 

Hernandez has never made an opening day roster, but after breaking into the Giants’ outfield rotation last season, he entered the winter in a decent shot. To bolster his case, Hernandez stayed in Scottsdale over the offseason to work out at the minor league facility. The added strength didn’t lead to any notable results over the first month of games, but Hernandez broke through Monday with three doubles in the final home game of the spring.

“Sometimes (slumps) happen and sometimes you’re late (on pitches) and you don’t feel comfortable at the plate, but now I feel different. I feel better,” Hernandez said. “I’m recognizing pitches and trying to keep it simple and not do too much.”

The coaching staff has asked several players to head down to the minor league facility late in the spring and get additional at-bats, and Hernandez took Bruce Bochy up on the offer. He twice played in minor league games, and on Sunday he rotated into different games so he could get six at-bats. Hernandez said that helped him find his timing. 

“Without question, it helped his timing,” Bochy said. “He was off. He was getting out front, his timing was off. I think the at-bats he got paid off.”

The three-double day was perfectly timed. Hernandez entered with a .159 average and Justin Ruggiano, the other option as a backup center fielder, had started to put together better at-bats. Monday’s game was a reminder in more ways than one. Hernandez showed off the type of speed the Giants won’t have on the bench if Kelby Tomlinson is optioned, and he played all three outfield positions, switching from left to right to center. 

The role in play is one Gregor Blanco had for five seasons. The Giants would like Hernandez to be their defensive whiz at every outfield spot, and they’re light on true center fielders. If the Giants put Hernandez on the roster this week as expected, he’ll be ready to try and be the new Blanco. 

“If they give me that role, I’ll try to do the same thing,” he said. “Or better.”

THE ACE: Madison Bumgarner is going to Madison Bumgarner. He threw seven sharp innings Monday, lowering his spring ERA to 2.52. In 25 innings, he has allowed just 17 hits and struck out 23. Bochy appreciated Bumgarner’s intensity Monday against a Reds team that was filled with minor leaguers. 

“That’s what makes him so good,” Bochy said. “He takes every outing seriously. His preparation doesn’t waver.”

Bumgarner even added a single, and he liked that it came on a breaking ball. He’s worked on getting better at hitting those pitches, which he’s seeing more and more. 

“I feel I’m as ready as I can be to start the season,” Bumgarner said. 

His next pitch will be thrown Sunday at Chase Field. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants blasted poor Reds starter Cody Reed, hanging 10 runs on his line in 3 2/3 innings. Denard Span had two hits and Aaron Hill had three, driving in three runs. Bochy went with an interesting lineup, leading off with Span, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. He said he likes Crawford in that five-spot. He also plans to hit the pitcher eighth on occasion.

TRAINER’S ROOM: Joe Panik was drilled by a fastball in the lower back and he came out of the game as a precaution. Panik has a nasty welt, so he’s in for a night of ice, but there are no concerns. 

QUOTABLE: Posey turned 30 today. As he walked out to stretch, Bumgarner was asked if he was giving Posey a hard time. “No, he’s been 30 for the last seven years,” Bumgarner said.