SAN FRANCISCO — Making a rehab start in Albuquerque seemed to be a good warm-up for a return at Coors Field, but the Giants have decided that Jeff Samardzija likely won’t be activated next week as expected.
Samardzija needed 40 pitches to get through a five-run first inning on Tuesday night, and while the numbers in a Triple-A game in an unforgiving ballpark weren’t that alarming for staff members, there is concern that Samardzija didn’t get enough work in. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would like to see Samardzija get up and down five or six times in his next rehab start. The right-hander has pitched four innings in each of his past two starts as he works his way back from a shoulder injury.
“He feels great. He feels fine,” Bochy said. “To get him up five or six times, we would cover ourselves a little bit better. We’ll be sure on this one. He feels like he’s ready — you know Jeff. He wants to be here and pitching. I just think we’ll be more on the cautious side this time.”
The Giants rushed Samardzija back after his first rehab stint and he was never right. This time, two things have changed. Samardzija has noted a difference in the health of his shoulder, and the Giants have gotten much different results from their starting staff. With Madison Bumgarner back and Derek Holland throwing well, there are two veterans giving Bochy consistent innings. Chris Stratton, Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez have pitched well as the team has gone on a bit of a run.
--- A day after Austin Slater scored a big run, he was back on the bench. Hunter Pence gets the start in left against southpaw Kyle Freeland. Pence is 4 for 7 off Freeland. He had a walk-off on Sunday and hit a slow roller Tuesday that tapped the third base bag.
“He’s got the magic wand going a little bit,” Bochy said.
It does not appear the Giants will give Slater an extended look here. Bochy mentioned that Austin Jackson is due a start sometime soon.