DENVER — Brad Grems, the clubhouse coordinator for the Giants, has a problem. The organization has retired 10 numbers, and several others — such as 25 and 55 — are pretty much off limits, too. When you account for the active roster and the coaching staff, there simply aren’t many available numbers, unless you want your call-ups to look like wide receivers.
Grems has turned to No. 52 the last couple of years when dealing with temporary additions, which led to a curious mini-curse.
The number once worn so successfully by Yusmeiro Petit was given to Clayton Blackburn last May. He spent three days in the big leagues without getting into a game. Reyes Moronta was given No. 52 when he was called up this May. He spent a day in the big leagues and didn’t take the mound.
Miguel Gomez finally got No. 52 back into a game, but he hasn't seen much luck, either. Gomez has missed about a month with knee inflammation and might not play again this season.
When Moronta returned on Tuesday, alongside Roberto Gomez, he was given No. 54. There are good vibes in that jersey, and on the first night in Denver, Moronta saw action. Roberto Gomez did, too.
Moronta humped it up to 98 mph while striking out MVP candidate Charlie Blackmon to open his big league career. He was charged with a run in two-thirds of an inning, but the hits he gave up were an infield single and shattered-bat flare to right.
“He had some horrible luck, didn’t he?” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I thought he threw the ball great. An infield single and a bloop hit — that’s horrible luck for him.”
Moronta wasn’t shaken. He was all smiles after the game as he described his journey back to the big leagues. Moronta said he knew he would be back, and that he would get into a game this time.
“I always stay positive,” he said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. “I tried to do my job. I didn’t think too much about (not getting into a game) and I tried to stay positive about the fact that I was probably going to get called up.”
The Giants like Moronta’s power stuff, and this is an audition for a more permanent role next year. In addition to the fastball that sat 95-96 Tuesday night, Moronta has a slider that stole him a few strikes against the heart of a very good lineup.
Moronta wasn’t bothered by debuting at Coors. Gomez wasn’t, either. He dialed it up to 96 mph while getting Trevor Story to line out and end the seventh.
“I was a little bit nervous, of course,” Gomez said. “I went out and tried to do the same thing I did in Triple-A, and that’s to throw strikes.”
Bochy noted that he’ll have some bullpen shakeups coming. The Giants are without Matt Cain this week because of a personal issue and Mark Melancon will be shut down at some point this month. Moronta and Gomez are here, and Bochy will use them.
“Those two guys who made their debuts, they showed great stuff and great poise,” Bochy said.