UPDATE (12.07pm PT on Wednesday): Despite Bruce Bochy saying that the team would wait until Friday to activated Mark Melancon from the disabled list, the Giants will activate their closer prior to Wednesday's game against the Dodgers.
Kelby Tomlinson was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to make room on the 25-man roster for Melancon.
SAN FRANCISCO — On a cool afternoon at AT&T Park, Mark Melancon put on a hoodie and went out to once again test his right pronator strain. Melancon came out of the latest throwing session feeling good, but the Giants will wait a couple of days before activating their closer. Manager Bruce Bochy said Melancon will return Friday for the first game of a series in St. Louis.
“To rush him before Friday is a little risky,” Bochy said.
It’s unclear if Melancon has completely knocked out the irritation that has bothered him since spring training. The caution indicates that he hasn’t, but that wouldn’t be a surprise. These things tend to linger, which is why some players are watched more closely than others. Bochy said that when Melancon does return, there won’t be restrictions.
“He’ll be good to go Friday,” he said.
Friday is a big day for another Giant on the DL. Conor Gillaspie will join Triple-A Sacramento for a rehab assignment and Aaron Hill, who is currently rehabbing with San Jose, will be his teammate. You can start to do the math here. The Giants are finally playing well, and now they have three pending roster moves. Hunter Pence expects to be back relatively soon, too. Who goes?
“We’re going to have to find a spot for them,” Bochy said. “I always say these things have a way of working out, but we’ll see where they’re at when they’re ready to come off.”
Translation: Don’t be surprised if another veteran comes down with a tight hamstring or stiff back.
--- Brandon Belt remains confident that he’ll get to Clayton Kershaw eventually, and there was a game last year where he blasted a fly ball that probably would have been a homer in half the parks in the NL. But Bochy isn’t taking any chances. Belt will be off Wednesday and it’s no coincidence. When trying to find breather days — Joe Panik got one Tuesday — Bochy looks at the upcoming pitchers. Belt is 3-for-51 off Kershaw.
“The numbers are what they are,” Bochy said before Tuesday’s game. “Kershaw, lefties or righties are going to be tough, but those numbers are, uh, not pretty, let’s be honest. It’s a tough matchup for Brandon. Any time you try to find a guy a day of you try to find it against a tough pitcher for him, and that’s the case with Kershaw.”
There’s no shame in struggling against the world’s best pitcher. Belt is hardly alone. Denard Span is 0-for-13 off Kershaw and he’ll also be off Wednesday.
The timing is perfect for Belt in another respect. He took a throw off the shin Tuesday and had a pretty good bruise after the game.
--- A couple of familiar faces in new places: Drew Stubbs is now a Ranger; Neil Ramirez is now a Met.
--- Hard-throwing right-hander Ray Black tweeted that he had surgery on his elbow and he’ll be out three to four months. That arm is a gift and a curse. Black can throw 104, but he’s never managed to stay healthy. The Giants DFA’d him earlier this season but he’s still with the organization.
--- From last night, here’s my game story on Ty Blach, Belt and the Giants stretching their winning streak to five.