SAN DIEGO -- Giants relievers are going to pile up the miles this season.
The roster churn continued Thursday, when Derek Law was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take Andrew Suarez's roster spot. Suarez had a solid debut on Wednesday, but the Giants anticipate Johnny Cueto being ready to take his turn and come off the disabled list on Tuesday, so there was no need to keep another rookie starter around. Tyler Beede will start Sunday and Suarez would not have had enough rest days to be ready for that game.
Law may only be here for a few days, and that'll be the trend this season. Roberto Gomez pitched well but was sent down earlier in the week to make room for Beede. Steven Okert spent one night on the active roster but didn't pitch, and he went down for Suarez. With so many relievers with minor league options remaining, the Giants intend to do this all year to maximize flexibility and keep guys fresh.
"We have to protect these guys as much as getting fresh arms," Bochy said earlier this week. "It can affect any of those guys if we need them to throw a couple of innings."
Among the current group, Osich, Law, Pierce Johnson and Reyes Moronta have minor league options remaining, so the Giants can shuffle them back and forth with others like Gomez and Okert. A player must spend 10 days back in the minors unless there is an injury at the big league level.
While the Giants have been busy early, that could change by the end of the month. Will Smith is on track to return May 1 and the Giants will likely go to a seven-man bullpen at some point, and five of those guys could be out of options.
BOX SCORE | RECAP
SAN FRANCISCO -- Through the first two innings of his big league career, Andrew Suarez had thrown 23 strikes and just seven balls. That's a great trait to have as a pitcher. Most of the time.
"A lot of people say my weakness is I throw too many strikes," Suarez said after a 7-3 loss to the Diamondbacks. "I always try to compete. I've got to learn when to throw balls."
Suarez has pinpoint command and that's what got him to the big leagues. It'll keep him here, too, and it'll please his manager, pitching coach and infielders. But he's savvy enough already to know that there are times where a pitch in the dirt or six inches outside is a good one.
As he pounded the zone Wednesday, the Diamondbacks eventually caught on. Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer. John Ryan Murphy hit another. Both came on sliders.
"Hanging sliders," Suarez said.
The 25-year-old caught Goldschmidt looking at a two-strike curveball in the first and tried to go down and in with a slider in their second matchup. It stayed out away, and Goldschmidt blasted it.
"It was pretty much just a hanging spinner," Suarez said. "Sometimes I try to throw (the slider) too hard. I end up opening up (my delivery)."
The day was a learning experience, but also one to celebrate. Suarez had his mom, grandmother and brothers in the seats and said an ovation as he walked off the field was the biggest of his life. He may not make another start immediately, as Johnny Cueto is due back Tuesday, but Bruce Bochy left no doubt that Suarez will be a part of the future.
"I thought he did a nice job," Bochy said. "He pounded the strike zone. He made a couple mistakes but I thought overall that's a good job by him."
SAN FRANCISCO — Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez spent the spring competing to be the next man up in the big league rotation. It turns out they’ll make their debuts less than 24 hours apart.
Beede got his feet wet with four two-run innings on Tuesday and Suarez will take the ball Wednesday in place of Johnny Cueto, who has a sprained left ankle. The 25-year-old left-hander was added to the roster Wednesday morning, with Madison Bumgarner moving to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. Steven Okert was optioned back to Triple-A after one game to clear a spot on the active roster.
According to Stats LLC, Beede and Suarez are doing something that hasn’t been done for the Giants since long before they were born. Only once in the San Francisco Giants era have back-to-back games been started by guys making their debuts. Bob Knepper took the ball on Sept. 10, 1976 and Frank Riccelli made his debut a day later.
“He’s confident and he has the ability to go out here and have success,” Beede said. “It’s a bright future for him. I’ve seen him pitch all spring. I’m excited to see him out there. I’ve been pulling for him and all the guys in the rotation. It’s really cool that we’re all here together. We’re all good friends and to experience these moments together is surreal.”
Suarez is the top left-handed prospect in the organization. He’s viewed as Ty Blach-ish, with a very good slider. Manager Bruce Bochy said Suarez is stretched out enough that he should be able to throw about 90 pitches Wednesday. If he can get the win, he’ll do something else the Giants haven’t seen in a while. The last Giants pitcher to win his first start was Ryan Sadowski in 2009.