Jeff Samardzija has shoulder injection at start of third DL stint


Jeff Samardzija has shoulder injection at start of third DL stint

OAKLAND — Asked Friday afternoon to describe his latest symptoms, Jeff Samardzija smiled.

“It’s a little bit of dead arm, like if your older brother cold-cocked you in the arm,” he said. 

Childhood disagreements don’t generally come with a big needle, though. Samardzija had a PRP injection over the break as the Giants continue to try and find a solution to shoulder problems that have put him on the disabled list for a third time. The Giants are listing their No. 5 starter as “TBA” for now, and manager Bruce Bochy said he hasn’t ruled Samardzija out, but the right-hander won’t throw a bullpen session until Sunday at the earliest, so it seems overly optimistic that he'll start next Wednesday. 

Samardzija himself was optimistic while describing an ailment that once again flared up during his second start back from the DL. He said he is spending time with pitching coach Curt Young and the training staff and trying to find out what specific activities are leading to issues. He already has changed his work in the weight room and may adjust his throwing and batting practice routines. 

“The silver lining is that it’s nothing new,” he said. “We’re dealing with the same thing as before and trying to avoid those flareups.”

Samardzija has a 6.25 ERA in 10 starts this season and the Giants don’t have many more to throw at him as they try to get him right. They're trying to stay in the race, after all. If that doesn’t happen this season, Samardzija said he’ll overhaul his offseason routine to try and avoid another year like this. Doctors have not recommended surgery to this point. 

--- A day before Samardzija had an injection, Buster Posey had cortisone shot into his hip. Posey was in the lineup Friday as the catcher and said he felt good. He cautioned, though, that he won’t know if the injection worked until he gets out there for a few games. Posey played through hip discomfort for most of the first half and hit just five homers. 

--- Evan Longoria started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento and could be activated as soon as Tuesday in Seattle. The Giants will face James Paxton that night, and could certainly use Longoria’s right-handed bat. Joe Panik (groin strain) could start his rehab assignment next week. He took batting practice on Friday. 

--- Brandon Belt was placed on the paternity list and Ryder Jones was brought down from Sacramento for a spot start against righty Edwin Jackson. The Belts are expecting their second child this weekend. Bochy said Belt will be back and in the lineup on Saturday night.  

--- Here are our latest Power Rankings, with updates on former Giants Cory Gearrin, George Kontos, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo and others. 

Giants walked off by Reds in 11th for second straight loss

Giants walked off by Reds in 11th for second straight loss

The first night at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati wasn’t what you would expect. The Giants and Reds took a 1-1 tie deep into the night in one of the league’s best hitters parks before Phillip Ervin took Ray Black deep in the 11th.

The Giants lost their second straight after a hot start to this trip. They are 2-2 on what they felt would be a trip that could get them back into the NL West race. Here’s what else you need to know from a disappointing night... 

—- The lineup did absolutely nothing against Anthony DeSclafini, who entered with a 4.46 ERA. He was finally knocked out in the eighth when the Giants put two on with two outs, but Buster Posey tapped out to short. 

—- The Giants couldn’t have asked for much more from Casey Kelly, an emergency starter after Dereck Rodriguez strained his hamstring. Two days after pitching the 12th in Los Angeles, Kelly gave up one run over 4 1/3 innings. He allowed nine hits — eight singles — but repeatedly wiggled out of trouble. It helped that he picked Billy Hamilton off.

—- Kelly shared a cool moment with his dad, Pat, the bench coach for the Reds. The two made eye contact before the first pitch and saluted each other. 

Why Dereck Rodriguez's injury hits outside-looking-in Giants at worst time

Why Dereck Rodriguez's injury hits outside-looking-in Giants at worst time

SAN FRANCISCO — Your view of which side was to blame Tuesday night depends almost entirely on which side of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry you grew up on. That much was made clear over the past three days, both in the aftermath of the mini-brawl and when the punishments were handed down Thursday. 

At this point, it doesn’t really matter how much blame to place with either party. The only thing that matters for the Giants is that for the second consecutive year, they found themselves mixed up in a silly skirmish that cost them a player. This time around, the price is steeper for the team, both because of the player involved and the circumstances of the season. 

A year ago, Michael Morse’s career ended with a concussion suffered when Jeff Samardzija crashed into him seconds after Hunter Strickland threw at Bryce Harper. Morse was put on the DL and soon found himself retired, but with a .194 average on a terrible team, he wasn’t going to stick around much longer anyway. Morse admitted to USA Today earlier this year that he looks back on that stretch as “playing with house money.”

This season’s injury will have a far greater impact, even though the hamstring strain Dereck Rodriguez suffered was announced as just a Grade 1. The timing couldn’t be worse for the Giants, who are on the fringes of the playoff race, sure, but are far from the 98-loss pace they were on when Morse went down last season. They still have hopes of making a run. 

The staff got together in Los Angeles and went away from manager Bruce Bochy’s tradition, using the off day to skip the fifth starter spot. That had Rodriguez lined up to face the Reds on Friday night, with the hope that the Giants could build off the momentum from the Dodgers series. He was going to face the lowly Mets next week, too. Those were two very good opportunities for road wins. 

Instead, it’ll be Casey Kelly on Friday, and the Giants will piece it together from there. The rotation is weakened with the loss of a dominant rookie who was soaking up innings like an ace, and the repercussions surely will be felt in the bullpen at some point on this important road trip.

The Giants have no margin for error this season, and they already have found themselves reeling from things like Madison Bumgarner being hit by a liner, Brandon Belt’s appendix acting up, Evan Longoria getting drilled by a pitch, Joe Panik spraining his thumb on a tag, and Mac Williamson suffering a concussion when he ran over a bullpen mound. 

There was blame to be placed Tuesday, but this also is another bad break. Rodriguez was the first from the dugout to reach the scrum, doing what players do dozens of times a year without injury, and he appeared fine as he hopped around the outside of the altercation. Two days later, the Giants admitted their latest beef with Yasiel Puig had come at a costly price.

The Giants will hope Rodriguez can return on the next homestand, but this is a blow to his Rookie of the Year campaign and a big shot to a roster that now has just three healthy starters and really could have used two more Rodriguez starts over the next week. Chris Stratton is an option to return, and Ty Blach is available for spot-start duty. Tyler Beede is on the minor league DL, so you can cross him off. Perhaps Shaun Anderson is thrown into a playoff push. Management surely spent the flight to Cincinnati trying to figure all that out instead of enjoying a successful and dramatic series at Dodger Stadium that was highlighted by Tuesday's shoving match. 

An hour after the shoving had ended, catcher Nick Hundley said he hoped the incident would bring the team closer together. 

“This is a tight-knit group,” he said. “We’ll feed off that. What a great win.”

The next night, the Giants lost in extra innings. They now have lost at least two starts from a player who was the best part of a season forever stuck around the .500 mark.

It doesn’t really matter who is to blame at this point. The simple truth is that the Giants have been involved in several of these incidents the last five years, and they finally paid a steep on-field price.