Giants

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

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AP

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants nearly left Scottsdale unscathed. Instead they'll leave with an injured No. 3 starter, but the news on Jeff Samardzija late Thursday night was good news. 

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Samardzija has a strained pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the start of the season. But given that Samardzija, who has had a rough spring, went for an MRI on his shoulder a week before the season opener, team officials have to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

"He'll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it back up," Bochy told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It should't take long to get him back on the mound so it's good news."

Samardzija was supposed to take the ball next Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Instead, the Giants will rely on two young pitchers and a non-roster invitee at the back end of their rotation. The injury ends a three-way race for the final two spots between Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Derek Holland. The Giants could use all three in the rotation until Samardzija is healthy, or they could skip their No. 5 starter and move one of the pitchers into the bullpen. 

Because the Giants have two off days before their seventh game, Madison Bumgarner can line up to pitch three of the first nine games. The Giants have been considering that all spring, although they have yet to publicly announce a decision one way or the other. Bumgarner said early in camp that he would be up to the challenge, and given how sharp he was all spring, that might be the best way to tread water until Samardzija is cleared to return to the rotation.

Bud Selig: Barry Bonds not all-time home run king, Hank Aaron is

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USATSI

Bud Selig: Barry Bonds not all-time home run king, Hank Aaron is

Is Barry Bonds deserving of a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame?

It’s a question more difficult to answer now that the steroid wall at the helm of the Baseball Writers Association of America is slowly beginning to crumble. But it remains one of the biggest debates across baseball.

But how does Bud Selig feel about it? Not necessarily as a big-league executive, but as a fan. 

The ninth Commissioner of Major League Baseball was a recent guest on The Dan Patrick Show and was asked his thoughts on the controversial subject. He has some biased as he’s close friends with Hank Aaron, and even said in his book that having to name Bonds as the all-time home run king “didn’t feel good at all.”

Bonds currently holds the all-time record with 762 career homers. Asterisk or not, they stand by his name.

Aaron hit 755 across 23 seasons.

As a fan …

“Well, I’ve never really answered that,” Selig told Patrick. “But I will say this to you, in my mind, even though Bonds holds the record, and I’ve said ‘records are records,’ I think you know how I feel about Henry Aaron.”

The former Milwaukee Brewers' team president and owner said he and Aaron had just spoken recently about this like they sometimes do. 

DP wanted to confirm Selig’s beliefs that Aaron should have the title of home run king. Selig confirmed.

And would Selig vote Bonds into Cooperstown?

“That’s one I will not answer because what I’ve said is I did everything I could do,” he explained. “Remember this, Dan, and I don’t have to tell you this, baseball not only didn’t have a drug-testing program -- we went through the cocaine era -- a serious problem in the ‘80s. Twenty-nine guys get convicted, four go to jail, and they couldn’t get a drug program.”

The Hall of Famer himself is glad those responsibilities are on others. 

“So, I’m proud of where we are, but I’m going to let the writers decide that -- they can decide that.”

[RELATED: Selig reflects on 'misery' of Bonds' home run chase]

Patrick wanted to know if Selig’s thoughts on Rogers Clemens mirrored that of Bonds -- once again, as a fan. 

“No, I don’t want to answer.” 

Johnny Cueto set to take big step in comeback from Tommy John surgery

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USATSI

Johnny Cueto set to take big step in comeback from Tommy John surgery

DENVER -- At some point in the next 15 days, the Giants will have to decide whether they want to trade their ace at a time when they're back within striking distance of a playoff spot. No matter what they decide, the rotation will get a nice boost down the stretch. 

Johnny Cueto will pitch in a rookie league game in Arizona the first week of August, manager Bruce Bochy said, taking a huge step in his return from Tommy John surgery. That will be Cueto's first rehab appearance and will put him just a few weeks from a return to San Francisco. 

The Giants and Cueto have always viewed Sept. 1 as a target date and he has had no setbacks during the long and tedious recovery process. For a while, it seemed Cueto's return would simply be to give everyone peace of mind before the 2020 season. But now Cueto may be coming back to a team that finds itself within shouting distance of a playoff spot, and he's said to be keeping an eye on the surging big league roster. 

It would be unrealistic to expect Cueto to be his old self in September, and he would face pitch count restrictions upon his return. At the same time, the right-hander somehow had a 0.84 ERA in his first five starts last season as he battled elbow pain, so perhaps he really could come back and contribute right away. 

Cueto hasn't pitched in a big league game since last July 28. During the time away he has dropped more than 20 pounds, and team officials have been thrilled about his command and stuff in bullpen sessions.