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SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants are huddling up to discuss the timing to activate left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who threw 22 pitches in two clean innings for Single-A San Jose on Saturday.
The aspect that bears the most discussion: Who loses a roster spot as a result?
Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged the club could go to a 13-man pitching staff when they add Affeldt, who began the year on the disabled list because of a sprained knee ligament. Affeldt looks to be fully recovered now and got plenty of ground balls in his appearance Saturday.
There are a couple reasons a 13-man staff makes sense, at least for a little while. First, the Giants don’t have any candidates in the bullpen with a minor league option. Yusmeiro Petit, David Huff, Juan Gutierrez and Jean Machi all have made positive contributions and are throwing well, and would be exposed to waivers if the Giants wanted to ship any of them out.
For another thing, the rotation hasn’t pitched consistently deep into games. And after Monday, the Giants will play 15 of the next 16 days.
Finally, Bochy is playing left fielder Michael Morse a bit deeper in games. Morse didn’t play more than seven innings in any of his first five starts. But in his last six starts, Morse has played three complete games and played eight innings in two others. So maybe the Giants can get by without No.5 outfielder Juan Perez, who has an option. Brandon Belt and Ehire Adrianza could provide outfield coverage in a pinch.
Hector Sanchez’s improved defensive skills open up some options on the positional side for Bochy as well, since it makes it easier to give Buster Posey a day off or stick him at first base.
Other than the Affeldt discussion, there’s not a lot going on. You don’t have a lot of loose ends to pull after a 1-0 loss, although they can be maddening games for managers to lose because inevitably you find little mistakes to stew over that made the difference in the game.
The suddenly cold Giants couldn’t hit on the field for a second consecutive day, this time because kids were parading around the field as part of Pony League day. Bochy is sticking with the same batting order vs. a right-handed pitcher – including Pablo Sandoval in the No. 3 spot. He didn’t discuss whether he’s thinking of moving Sandoval down in the lineup, but acknowledged the topic has come up.
“I don’t want these guys to think every time they hit the skids, they’ll be dropped in the lineup,” said Bochy, also pointing out that Sandoval doubled and had a hit taken away from him by Nolan Arenado on Saturday.