Giants

Three Giants getting closer to returning from DL stints

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USATSI

Three Giants getting closer to returning from DL stints

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have one of their tougher stretches coming up, with the Astros and Pirates at home followed by a trip to Dodger Stadium. If they get through the next nine games, they can fatten up against the Reds, Mets and Rangers, and they may finally be pretty close to healthy.

Brandon Belt took early batting practice at AT&T Park and fielded grounders, and he is about a week away from returning, manager Bruce Bochy said. Belt still needs to test his bruised knee by running on the field, but he said everything has gone well to this point and he’s hopeful he’ll be back soon. The Giants may bring Belt back without a rehab assignment. 

Hunter Strickland (hand) started a rehab assignment with the San Jose Giants on Monday, but he cannot return until August 18 because the Giants placed him on the 60-day DL. 

Jeff Samardzija threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session and will face hitters on Monday at Dodger Stadium. If that goes well, Samardzija (shoulder) will start his own rehab assignment. The Giants have said that Samardzija will need a lengthy minor-league stint as he tries to return for the third time this year, but they could speed the timetable up due to their big-league situation. They currently are without a fifth starter, with Ty Blach likely getting that spot when it comes back up.

Bochy is looking forward to adding three players back to a club that is still within striking distance in the NL West, but there’s one player he definitely won’t be getting back. Pablo Sandoval will have season-ending surgery on his hamstring on Tuesday morning. Bochy said he spoke to Sandoval.

“Hopefully he’ll be around and helping keep guys upbeat, because he’s so good at it,” Bochy said. “He’s a little down. He misses playing.”

--- The Giants aren’t the only team dealing with injuries, obviously. The Astros placed George Springer on the DL, where he joins Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. The Giants will face the reigning champs without three of their four best hitters. 

--- Bochy dropped a “Flying Frenchman” nickname on Chase d’Arnaud while explaining how d’Arnaud was his emergency catcher on Saturday. D’Arnaud said he’s actually only about three percent French, according to a test he once took, but the nickname was given to him earlier in his career. Bochy, who was born in France, liked it. 

By the way, d’Arnaud played a pretty good prank on another member of the staff during batting practice. Ron Wotus whiffed on a foul ball the other day in Arizona and made the mistake of telling d’Arnaud, who got the video from a clubhouse employee and edited it into a short clip that was played on the scoreboard at AT&T Park while the Giants were taking grounders. Wotus was shown missing the ball about a dozen times.

--- AT&T Park was briefly on fire Monday afternoon. For the second time this year, a concession stand down the third base line lit up. You can find video on my Instagram story: @pavlovicNBCS.

--- The latest Power Rankings give updates on George Kontos, Matt Moore, Andrew Susac, Phil Bickford and other former Giants. Let's just say some of them aren't doing so well in other spots. 

Source: Giants planning to call up slugging third baseman Zach Green

Source: Giants planning to call up slugging third baseman Zach Green

SAN FRANCISCO — Conner Menez won’t be the only newcomer in the clubhouse on Sunday.

The Giants plan to call up power-hitting third baseman Zach Green from Triple-A, NBC Sports Bay Area has learned. Green has 23 homers for the River Cats this season with an OPS of 1.099. 

Green, a 25-year-old Sacramento native, was taken in the third round of the 2012 draft by the Phillies. He put up good numbers in their system, hitting 20 homers a year ago, but never got his shot and signed with the Giants over the offseason. He was in big league camp this year as a non-roster invitee.

Green has shown his power throughout the minor league season but was blocked at the big league level because he is primarily a first and third baseman. It’s unclear what his immediate role is, but Evan Longoria is out at least a couple more weeks with a left foot strain. The Giants have been concerned about wearing Pablo Sandoval down, although they do also have Donovan Solano as an option. It's possible Solano will see more time at second base.

[RELATED: Giants' loss a 'bump in the road']

Green could make his MLB debut with Menez on Sunday. The lefty will take Drew Pomeranz’s rotation spot. Menez is also a local, having grown up in Hollister. 

Giants' 11-4 loss to Mets 'a bump in the road,' Bruce Bochy believes

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Giants' 11-4 loss to Mets 'a bump in the road,' Bruce Bochy believes

All good things must come to an end.

The Giants' seven-game winning streak? Good, but over.

The New York Mets hit four long homers on Saturday, handing the Giants an 11-4 loss in front of the home crowd at Oracle Park.

Starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija couldn't keep the momentum going as he gave up six hits and four earned runs over five innings. He did strike out seven Mets batters, though.

"A tick off as we were as a team," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Samardzija to reporters after the game. "We didn't swing the bats like we had been, so just a little off. It was just one of those days where they had their day and it was a tough day for us."

The Giants came out of the All-Star break on fire, winning eight of their first nine games. They swept a four-game series in Colorado and had won the first two games against the Mets in walk-off fashion. But the bats couldn't get going against New York starter Walker Lockett, who allowed just one earned run in five innings.

"You're going to have days," Bochy said. "We've been playing so well and had a bump in the road here. That's how we have to look at it. Regroup and come out and be ready to go tomorrow."

Bochy was asked if the Giants' recent schedule had something to do with Saturday's lackluster performance.

"It probably looked [like] it today," Bochy said. "It's been a tough schedule for these guys and not taking away from Lockett. He threw the ball well and we had a hard time figuring him out. When you look at this past week, four games in Colorado, 16 innings, but Pablo [Sandoval] went out there and swung it well today, he's been out there almost every inning. [Brandon] Belt, he got a couple hits.

"But it's going to look that way when you don't swing the bats. We're going to have a game like this. But we gotta keep going, keep grinding. We're playing well and this one was just not a good game for us."

[RELATED: Giants reportedly had scouts at Cubs game]

The Giants have a chance on Sunday to erase the bitter taste of this defeat. Left-handed pitcher Conner Menez will make his major league debut Sunday, taking the place of Drew Pomeranz in the rotation. In 18 appearances (17 starts) between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento this season, Menez has a 3.13 ERA and has struck out 123 batters in 95 innings.