Surkamp goes for tests on sore elbow


Surkamp goes for tests on sore elbow

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Monday should have provided all good omens for Eric Surkamp. One of his prime competitors for rotation depth, Ramon Ortiz, was given his release. Another, Brian Burres, was reassigned to minor league camp.

But Surkamp's outlook was far from rosy.

He went for an MRI exam on his left elbow and is awaiting results. Surkamp didn't bounce back after throwing 90 pitches on Wednesday; he couldn't even loosen up enough to play catch the previous two days.

"I tried and I just couldn't do it," the 24-year-old left-hander said. "I've had normal stuff, soreness and fatigue, when I'm done throwing. But nothing to the point where I miss time."

Surkamp is hoping a week of rest will allow inflammation to calm down. Regardless, the injury comes at a bad time for the Giants, who already were thin on rotation depth. Surkamp was supposed to back up Ryan Vogelsong on Monday, who is making his first Cactus League appearance after missing time with a lower back strain. Vogelsong won't be ready to start the season.

Burres remains in the organization and will begin at Triple-A Fresno. The Giants also might turn to Yusmeiro Petit, who pitched well Saturday after filling out a split-squad roster. Petit started 17 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 and will get the assignment Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Petit will replace Madison Bumgarner, who will pitch in minor league camp rather than give a free look to an NL West rival.

Expect the Giants to survey the trade market, too -- maybe even fetching an arm for either Ryan Theriot or Mike Fontenot.

Surkamp was having a good spring, with each outing better than the previous one.

"It's disappointing," he said. "I was feeling good. My arm and body were feeling good and I was starting to get there with my stuff. ... Now's the time to get it right."

The Giants will get Arizona's Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter -- three right-handers -- in the season-opening series that begins April 6 at Chase Field. The Giants will send Tim Lincecum, Bumgarner and Matt Cain.

The Giants will have Barry Zito pitch the opener of the next series April 9 at Coors Field. After that, they have a day off and can skip the No.5 spot. They'll need a fifth starter April 15 and could activate Vogelsong from the disabled list to take the ball if he's ready.

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate


Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni. 

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Eduardo Nuñez left San Francisco in a strange way. The third baseman was traded in the middle of Tuesday night’s game and mostly said his goodbyes in a stairwell behind the home dugout at AT&T Park. Before joining the Red Sox, Nuñez took to his social media pages to send a message to the Giants and their fans. 

On Twitter, Nuñez thanked the organization for “the great opportunity and experiences learned” and wished the team the best of luck. His Instagram message was a bit longer. 

“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team,” Nuñez wrote. “I value the experiences learned during my time here and I will miss my teammates, the fans, and the beautiful city of San Francisco very much. Best wishes to the Giants organization during the rest of this season. God Bless.”

Nuñez is expected to join the Red Sox on Friday. Boston’s manager, John Farrell, told reporters that his new infielder will get “a high number of at-bats” despite the presence of top prospect Rafael Devers. 

"This is someone who's swinging the bat very well right now,” Farrell said, according to "A high energy player that can run the bases well. He’s got really good line drive power so his .300-plus batting average to mix into this lineup is a good addition."