Which Sanchez will show up for the Giants?

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Which Sanchez will show up for the Giants?

August 10, 2011

PITTSBURGH (55-60) vs.
GIANTS (64-53)

Coverage begins at noon on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A night after their latest ugly offensive effort resulted in a shutout, the San Francisco Giants kept the Pittsburgh Pirates off the board and seemed to put their recent ineptitude at the plate behind them.

Pittsburgh's Jeff Karstens would certainly like to forget about his latest outing.

The NL's ERA leader prior to being blasted in his last start, Karstens tries to bounce back as the Pirates and Giants play their series finale Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park.

Pittsburgh (55-60) snapped a 10-game losing streak with some strong pitching and timely hitting in a 5-0 win Monday in San Francisco, but reverted back Tuesday to its woeful form from recent weeks.

Chris Stewart and Aubrey Huff homered - the Giants' 17th and 18th consecutive solo shots since July 6 - to back seven dominant innings from Madison Bumgarner in a 6-0 victory that kept them one-half game ahead of Arizona atop the AL West.

RATTO: Giants' win trumps sideshow for a day

Stewart's homer was the first of the 29-year-old journeyman's major league career.

"Things like that do pull a club together," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

San Francisco (64-53) hasn't put up five or more runs in consecutive contests since July 18 and 19, but might be due for a big day at the plate if Karstens (8-6, 3.05) pitches anything like he did Friday against San Diego.

The right-hander came into the game with an NL-low 2.49 ERA and hadn't allowed more than three earned runs in 18 consecutive starts since mid-April, but he flew past that mark early against the Padres. Karstens gave up nine runs and nine hits while lasting just 3 1-3 innings in a 15-5 loss.

"I couldn't pinpoint what I was doing wrong, but I put it all on my shoulders," he said. "I expect to be better than that."

Karstens is 3-0 with a 1.94 ERA over his last six road starts, though, and he may not have to worry about one of San Francisco's most dangerous bats. Carlos Beltran has sat the past two games with a strained right wrist. He hasn't been ruled out Wednesday, but Thursday's scheduled off day could allow him additional rest.

Beltran is 2 for 8 with a homer against Karstens, who gave up five runs - two earned - over 6 2-3 innings of a 5-2 home loss to the Giants on April 28.

San Francisco counters with Jonathan Sanchez (4-6, 4.10), who didn't fare well in his first start after missing six weeks due to left biceps tendinitis. The left-hander gave up five runs and seven hits - two homers - while lasting just 4 2-3 innings in a 9-2 loss to Philadelphia on Friday.

He hasn't made it through five innings in any of his last three outings and is walking 5.82 batters per nine innings - worst in the majors among pitchers with at least 17 starts - but Sanchez is still among the major league leaders in strikeouts per nine (9.16).

That could mean some easy outs against Pittsburgh. The Pirates have whiffed a major league-high 239 times since the All-Star break, including 165 since July 25 - 41 more than any other club during that span.

Sanchez hasn't allowed an earned run - he's given up four unearned - over his last 14 1-3 innings against Pittsburgh, and he's struck out 16. Prior to that, however, he was 0-1 with a 14.04 ERA in four appearances versus the Pirates.

The Pirates are hitting .178 (13 for 73) with 24 strikeouts and no homers against lefties since July 31.

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed “something” in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for Opening Day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

ICYMI: From this morning, a feature on George Kontos and his rise over the last few years. 

Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn’t played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn’t show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There’s a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Will Smith, a key piece of a revamped bullpen, is leaning toward having Tommy John surgery, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night. 

Bochy said surgery was the recommendation of both doctors who examined Smith's elbow this week. Smith will talk to his agent before coming to a final decision on Friday. The procedure would keep Smith out the entire 2017 season and likely would cause him to miss the start of the 2018 season.

Smith, 27, missed the first month of camp because of pain in his throwing elbow. He returned March 17, but during a March 20 outing he again felt pain and called for a trainer. A second round of diagnostics revealed a strain and a sprain in the elbow. Smith saw team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlen-Jobe Clinic. 

"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."

Smith was expected to serve as the late lefty for the Giants, getting setup work in the seventh and eighth innings. With Smith out, the Giants will lean on young lefties Steven Okert, Josh Osich and Ty Blach. 

"We're going to have to have someone step up and help us in the seventh and eighth," Bochy said. "That was going to be will's role. He's a guy we were leaning on."

Smith was acquired from the Brewers at the deadline last season in exchange for right-hander Phil Bickford (who is currently serving a 50-game suspension) and catcher Andrew Susac (who is currently injured). After a shaky start, he finished the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. 

The Giants have for the most part avoided Tommy John for 40-man roster pitchers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Josh Osich have all had it during their time in the organization, along with outfielder Mac Williamson. Prospect Ian Gardeck is currently recovering from Tommy John. The last Giants pitcher who was likely headed for the roster before having Tommy John was left-hander Eric Surkamp. He had surgery in 2012.

The timetable is different for every pitcher, but the general consensus is that the procedure sidelines a pitcher for at least a year, and usually closer to 16 months. Matt Moore, Thursday night’s starter, had Tommy John on April 23, 2014. He did not return to a big league mound until July 2, 2015, and even then, he was under restrictions. 

Smith is under team control for two more seasons after this one.