Giants place Johnny Cueto on 60-day DL, add new arm to bullpen


Giants place Johnny Cueto on 60-day DL, add new arm to bullpen

PHILADELPHIA -- The six-to-eight week estimate the Giants first gave for Johnny Cueto's return will be at least eight. The right-hander was put on the 60-day disabled list Thursday, clearing a roster spot for Jose Valdez, who adds a fresh arm to the bullpen. Cueto is not eligible to return until June 28, but manager Bruce Bochy said that's about the date they were looking at anyway. 

In the meantime, Bochy is trying to patch his way through a stretch of 17 consecutive games without two starters who usually go deep. Madison Bumgarner will throw a bullpen session next week but figures to be at least a month away. To make it through this stretch, the Giants have shuttled relievers in and out. They don't have a true long man, and Derek Law was the latest to take the hit. 

Law flew to Philadelphia, threw 2 1/3 innings Wednesday night, and then was optioned. The timing was poor for Law; he's a Pittsburgh native and won't make the trip home for this weekend's series. Law has twice been optioned after seeing heavy work. D.J. Snelten was optioned earlier this week after throwing 54 pitches. 

"We need guys who can give us multiple innings and length," Bochy said. "You're seeing some of these guys get stretched out more."

Bochy said Tyler Beede and Derrick Rodriguez were considered as additions, but the Giants want to keep them on turn in the minors in case they are needed as starters. Beede is coming off a good start. Instead it was Valdez, who has 46 previous big league appearances under his belt.

--- Andrew McCutchen is getting a scheduled day off. Ditto for Buster Posey. The staff is trying to spread out the off days given this current stretch. 

--- Bumgarner should be on a rehab appearance in about two weeks. He played catch again Thursday morning and has had no setbacks. For reference, Bumgarner made four minor league rehab starts when he was hurt last year. 

--- Hunter Pence is close to restarting his rehab assignment. There is nothing new with Mac Williamson, but he will need a rehab assignment when he's cleared of this concussion. 

Down on the Farm: Ray Black and his 100-mph heater are back


Down on the Farm: Ray Black and his 100-mph heater are back

Ray Black nearly retired before this season. Ray Black was designated for assignment to help make room for names like Aaron Hill, Chris Marrero and Neil Ramirez just last year. Ray Black can also throw a fastball 104 mph. 

With injuries and anybody's guess where the ball is going, Black's career hasn't paved a fast path to the big leagues for someone with a rocket right arm. But now at 27 years old -- he'll be 28 in June -- Black is back and maybe better than ever. 

Take a look at how Black was blowing up the radar gun for the River Cats Thursday night in Sacramento.

Black faced four batters Thursday night. All four outs came from strikeouts and only one batter reached base as the lone hit he allowed.

After only pitching 2.1 innings last season due to elbow surgery, Black began the season in Double-A Richmond this year. His start to the season was nothing short of dominant.

Before being promoted to Triple-A, Black appeared in 10 games for the Flying Squirrels. Over 10 innings, he allowed just two hits and one earned run. Batters had no chance in Double-A against Black as he finished with 20 strikeouts, and what was even more encouraging, he only walked four.

Once he arrived in Sacrameto, things didn't start as smooth out of the bullpen. Black's first  two appearances don't look great in the box score as he allowed five earned runs over 2.1 innings and three walks. But, all five of those runs came off two home runs and he still struck out five. 

Since Black's first two bullpen appearances for the River Cats, he's been nearly unhittable. Including Thursday night, Black has allowed only one hit in 4.1 innings with no runs, one walk and nine strikeouts. 

Healthy and back on the mound, Black has 34 strikeouts to eight walks in 16.2 innings between two levels this season. It has been a long road, but the Giants could have quite the treasure at the end of this map. 

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Clark's HR in first career AB


POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Clark's HR in first career AB

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Pregame Live at 10am to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Cubs conclude on Saturday, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!

1. Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer against the Nationals in 2014 NLDS (Five-time winner -- Defeated Ed Halicki's no-hitter in 1975)

(From Alex Pavlovic)
By the end of an 18-inning win over the Nationals in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, the Giants were drained in every way. It would be understandable if some of them have few solid memories of the six-hour, 23-minute marathon game, but Brandon Belt will never forget the details. His solo shot off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18th was the difference in a 2-1 win. Four years later, the moment is still fresh in his mind, from his preparation for the at-bat to the emphatic bat drop: 

(From Brandon Belt)
"I remember chugging a Red Bull. It was late into the night and that's tough, it's mentally draining and physically draining to be in a game like that, where you're giving everything you've got to win a baseball game. I was drained at that moment to say the least. I remember chugging a Red Bull and going out there and thinking, 'I'm just going to try and get on base and see what happens.' I remember just not trying to do too much and he gave me a pitch that I could handle, that was kind of in my happy zone. It felt like one of the first home runs I ever hit. It's like you're in Little League and you hit a home run and it's like you're in a dream and it's not real life -- it was kind of the same way. 

"We had just played so long and it was such a big moment in the game, and the fact that I was able to come through and help us win with such a big hit, it was surreal to me. I felt like I was floating around the bases. I think (the bat drop) was relief, more than anything. When I do that I don't really know I do it. It was really just relief. The way the game was going, we had to assume it was over after that. The bullpen had done so well and everyone was so tired. It was going to be tough for (the Nationals) to come back after that.

"We were just ready to go home. We had a long flight after that. We just put so much effort into it and all the guys did so great. Pablo came up with a big hit in the ninth inning and Petit throwing (six shutout) innings. For me, that was the pivotal game of that entire playoffs. We were playing the best team in the NL and to be able to come home up 2-0 was huge."


2. Will Clark's home run off Nolan Ryan in first-career at-bat