SAN FRANCISCO — When he was first called up in late April, Austin Slater said he was just starting to get used to first base.
“I’m still fresh with the taco at first,” he explained.
He no longer is fresh with the taco. Slater played 91 1/3 innings at first base before his latest promotion and he’ll get his first big league start there on Thursday night. Manager Bruce Bochy said Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey will get most of the time at first while Brandon Belt is out, but he wanted to keep Hunter Pence in the lineup Thursday, so Slater was shifted to first. That gives the Giants another right-handed bat against lefty Wade Miley.
As for Belt, the injury is technically a bone bruise. Belt had an MRI on Thursday morning and was going to be inactive for at least five days, so the Giants put him on the DL immediately.
Evan Longoria should take some of the pressure off the lineup, and the Giants made another series of moves while swapping corner infielders. Kelby Tomlinson was optioned and Chris Stratton was brought back up to serve as a second long reliever. Bochy said Stratton’s presence will allow him to use guys like Reyes Moronta or Ray Black earlier in games if he feels he needs a big out.
--- Blach was actually optioned after Wednesday’s game and then brought back when Belt was put on the DL. It’s unclear why the Giants felt the need to rush a move on Wednesday, and it may have some impact down the road. Blach used an option, which is a very minor thing, but could potentially come in to play if he’s out of options at some point.
--- Bochy said he wanted to get as many right-handed bats in as possible against Miley. But Gorkys Hernandez, who has had such a good season, is on the bench. Steven Duggar is starting in center.
“I want to give him a little breather,” Bochy said of Hernandez.
Hernandez is batting just .220 over his last 14 games.
--- Joe Panik starts a minor league rehab assignment tonight. He’ll play five innings, then seven on Friday and nine on Saturday. Then he’ll join San Jose for additional rehab work. He should be back next week sometime.
--- Grant Brisbee of SB Nation and Giants Outsiders was my latest podcast guest. We talked quite a bit about what the Giants should do at the trade deadline. You can stream it here or download it on iTunes here. If you listen on iTunes, please consider leaving a review and subscribing to the podcast!
--- Joakim Soria did not get here in time to be active. The Brewers traded for Soria earlier today.
--- From this morning, I answered some Twitter questions on the trade deadline and the future of this franchise.
--- If you're not already following along on Instagram (pavlovicNBCS), I post a story from just about every home game. Today's includes a clip of Madison Bumgarner swinging left-handed ...