NEW YORK — Ray Black has been one of the better stories for the Giants this season, overcoming years of injuries to finally make his MLB debut. The next chapter in Black’s story will be one focused on caution.
Needing a fresh arm, the Giants on Monday made a surprise move, optioning Black back to Triple-A Sacramento and recalling Derek Law. Black had pitched in four of the first six games of this road trip and now will get a few days off before throwing on a more regulated schedule in the minors.
“There’s a little concern that we’ve been using Black a lot,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This gives him a break, too. He’s done a great job getting his career on track. He’s dealt with some injuries and this cuts back risk of any kind of injury.”
Bochy said Black, who allowed five runs in his last three appearances, is healthy. The workload may have caught up to a pitcher who often threw every three days in the minors and has not been used to pitching on back-to-back days.
“He came out of it fine,” Bochy said. “He’s healthy, but we want to keep it that way.”
Black gave up just one hit in his first month in the big leagues. August has been a struggle, and while he was still piling up strikeouts, opposing hitters were starting to look comfortable. The Giants are hoping the breather helps, and Bochy said Black will be back at some point soon. He cannot return for 10 days after being optioned.
--- Dereck Rodriguez threw a light bullpen session and did some jogging before batting practice. His hamstring is doing well, and he’s likely to slide back into the rotation on Friday at AT&T Park.
--- Chris Stratton is here as part of the taxi squad and will start Tuesday’s game. Stratton believes he found a fix to his fastball command issues; Ryan Vogelsong was with the Triple-A team for a few days and gave Stratton some tips that the young right-hander said proved to be very beneficial. Vogelsong has been traveling through the minors this season and helping Giants prospects.
--- In case you missed it, a look at some ways the Giants can work towards the future over their final 37 games.