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Watson's IL stint puts playoff status in doubt; Cueto to pen

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Tony Watson

SAN FRANCISCO -- The emergence of Camilo Doval and Kervin Castro could end up being even more important than the Giants anticipated. 

Veteran lefty Tony Watson, one of Gabe Kapler's most trusted arms at the back end of the bullpen, was put on the Injured List on Thursday with a left shoulder strain that might keep him out of the postseason. The Giants also DFA'd lefty Jose Quintana, with the open roster spots going to Darin Ruf, who started in left field against Madison Bumgarner, and Johnny Cueto, who will join the bullpen.

The Giants had long expected to get Ruf (oblique) and Cueto (elbow) back before the end of the regular season, but losing Watson is an unexpected blow just four games from the postseason. A Giant from 2018 to 2020, Watson was brought back from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline. He had a 2.96 ERA, 2.63 FIP and 0.78 WHIP in 26 appearances, sliding right in alongside Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers and Dominic Leone in the late innings. 

Kapler said Watson didn't feel right warming up recently and testing showed a moderate strain. Asked if Watson could return at some point in the postseason, he said "it's possible." The Giants will get a boost when Jake McGee returns, possibly this weekend, and fellow lefties Jose Alvarez and Jarlin Garcia have had good seasons. Doval and Castro have both taken on high-leverage innings recently.

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Cueto effectively replaces Quintana in the bullpen, although it will be an adjustment. All 329 of his big league appearances have come as a starter. Cueto said it could be a little uncomfortable, but added that he's happy to be back on the active roster. 

 

"I'll be myself," he said. "It allows me to be a little more aggressive because I'll only be throwing one or two innings."

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