Jeff Samardzija

Hunter Pence placed on 10-Day DL, Mac Williamson to make season debut

Hunter Pence placed on 10-Day DL, Mac Williamson to make season debut

The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence (right thumb sprain) on the 10-day DL on Friday, and recalled outfielder Mac Williamson from the triple-A Sacramento River Cats to take his place against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 

Pence missed his first game of the season on Thursday, as San Francisco lost the series finale with the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1. He's batting .172 on the season, and was 1-for-17 in his last five games. 

After revamping his swing, Williamson started off red-hot at the plate in Sacramento. He slashed .487/.600/1.026 in 50 plate appearances at triple-A. He will bat seventh and start in left field against the Angels. 

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani will bat sixth as the Angels' designated hitter, while Jeff Samardzija will take the hill for the Giants for the first time this season.

Here's who else will start for Bruce Bochy and Mike Scioscia. 

Giants (7-11)

1. Austin Jackson (R) CF

2. Joe Panik (L) 2B

3. Andrew McCutchen (R) DH

4. Buster Posey (R) 1B

5. Evan Longoria (R) 3B

6. Nick Hundley (R) C

7. Mac Williamson (R) LF

8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) RF

9. Kelby Tomlinson (R) SS

SP: Jeff Samardzija (First start this season)

Angels (13-6) 

1. Ian Kinsler (R) 2B

2. Mike Trout (R) CF

3. Justin Upton (R) LF

4. Albert Pujols (R) 1B

5. Luis Valbuena (L) 3B

6. Shohei Ohtani (L) DH

7. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS

8. Kole Calhoun (L) RF

9. Martin Maldonado (R) C

SP: Andrew Heaney (0-0, 5.40 ERA)

Jeff Samardzija plans to test pectoral strain on Wednesday


Jeff Samardzija plans to test pectoral strain on Wednesday

SAN FRANCISCO — Jeff Samardzija, who turned 33 earlier this year, said he hasn’t missed a practice or game since having inner ear surgery in the seventh grade. It’s understandable, then, that Samardzija is trying to speed up the rehab schedule after suffering a strained right pectoral.

Samardzija will play catch on Wednesday, picking up a ball for the first time since having an MRI the day before the Giants left spring training. He hopes that leads to a bullpen session and soon a return to the mound, although team officials are preaching caution. 

“I want to pitch,” Samardzija said. “I don’t enjoy watching. It doesn’t sit right with me.”

Samardzija will open the season on the disabled list, marking his first DL stint of a career hitting its 11th year. In discussing his injury Tuesday, he didn’t sound concerned, although it should be noted that Samardzija did not publicly display much concern during spring training, when his velocity was down four to five miles per hour and he was hit hard repeatedly. 

Samardzija said the strain is “pretty standard stuff,” and something that he usually feels in spring training, only to get right after three or four appearances. 

“It’s just that this year it didn’t dissipate as in the past,” he said. “We just weren’t getting that response. It was a holding pattern after starts and in between.”

Samardzija said he was “shoving the ball a lot,” not throwing, and described feeling a lack of mobility in his shoulder as he pitched. He has been on mild anti-inflammatories over the past week and said he feels good, although he conceded that the training staff probably has a different timetable than he does. The Giants have said that Samardzija likely will miss the first three to four weeks of the season. 

With Samardzija and Madison Bumgarner on the disabled list, the Giants will turn to Ty Blach, Derek Holland and Chris Stratton to round out the rotation. They’re hopeful that Samardzija’s turn comes up just two to three times before he can join those three and Johnny Cueto. That process starts Wednesday, when Samardzija will pick up a ball. He said he’ll know right away whether or not the rehab process will ramp up. 

“It’s going to be pretty obvious pretty early whether (the strain) is still there or not,” he said.

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle


Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants nearly left Scottsdale unscathed. Instead they'll leave with an injured No. 3 starter, but the news on Jeff Samardzija late Thursday night was good news. 

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Samardzija has a strained pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the start of the season. But given that Samardzija, who has had a rough spring, went for an MRI on his shoulder a week before the season opener, team officials have to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

"He'll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it back up," Bochy told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It should't take long to get him back on the mound so it's good news."

Samardzija was supposed to take the ball next Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Instead, the Giants will rely on two young pitchers and a non-roster invitee at the back end of their rotation. The injury ends a three-way race for the final two spots between Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Derek Holland. The Giants could use all three in the rotation until Samardzija is healthy, or they could skip their No. 5 starter and move one of the pitchers into the bullpen. 

Because the Giants have two off days before their seventh game, Madison Bumgarner can line up to pitch three of the first nine games. The Giants have been considering that all spring, although they have yet to publicly announce a decision one way or the other. Bumgarner said early in camp that he would be up to the challenge, and given how sharp he was all spring, that might be the best way to tread water until Samardzija is cleared to return to the rotation.