Derek Law

Giants promote former top prospect Casey Kelly

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River Cats

Giants promote former top prospect Casey Kelly

SAN FRANCISCO — The timing couldn’t have been better for Casey Kelly’s promotion to the big leagues. His dad, Pat, is the bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds, and the Giants make their only visit to Cincinnati next weekend. 

Before Friday’s game, Casey didn’t want to think much about the possibility. He smiled and said he hopes he’s still around. At the very least, it appears he’s the latest to get a chance to stick as a long reliever. 

Kelly was called up Friday and added to the active roster after the Giants optioned Derek Law back to Triple-A. The 28-year-old had a 4.78 ERA in 23 Triple-A starts, with 104 strikeouts. He can start or relieve, and for now it appears he’ll be the long reliever, with Ty Blach still scheduled to start Saturday’s game. 

Kelly is a former top prospect and has 19 big league appearances for the Padres and Braves. The right-hander hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2016, but he joined the Giants organization last summer and coaches said he has shown good stuff in his year with them. 

"Whenever you get in contention to get called up it's awesome," Kelly said. "I've been there a couple of times, so I know what to expect, but it's still cool."

To clear a 40-man roster spot, the Giants put Johnny Cueto on the 60-day DL. Cueto will be out until at least next September after having Tommy John surgery. 

— Barring a setback, Brandon Belt will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday. Belt is expected to play two or three games with the River Cats before returning to the big league lineup. 

“He’s ready to go,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’ll get some at-bats and if all goes well he’ll meet us in Los Angeles.”

The Giants face Clayton Kershaw on Monday, so Tuesday seems like a likely date for Belt’s activation. Belt has missed 13 games already with a hyperextended right knee. 

With Williamson out of lineup again, Giants recall Austin Slater

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USATSI

With Williamson out of lineup again, Giants recall Austin Slater

SAN FRANCISCO — The taxi squad was more of a caravan on Friday. 

Derek Law got the word in the morning that he needed to head from Sacramento to San Francisco, and as he was on the drive, Austin Slater got the same call. Slater is officially active Friday, taking the roster spot of Josh Osich, who has a groin strain. 

Law likely will be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader, although some moves are still up in the air because of Mac Williamson’s state. Williamson was out of the lineup for a second straight game after hitting the padded wall in left while trying to make a catch. He was lightheaded while working out Wednesday and thus went into the concussion protocol, but he has had no symptoms since and manager Bruce Bochy believes Williamson will play Saturday. 

“Right now he’s got zero symptoms,” Bochy said. “But this is part of the deal when you have the possibility of having a concussion.”

Williamson did fielding drills and took BP on Friday afternoon and appeared to be his normal self.

--- In theory, Slater’s stay could be temporary. The Giants are not going to carry six outfielders and they’ll have a decision to make if Williamson is fine and everyone gets through Saturday’s doubleheader unscathed. 

But, Slater also probably should be here regardless. It’s hard to argue that he’s not one of the five best outfielders in the organization and he was batting .358 with a 1.077 OPS in Triple-A at the time of his promotion. 

“It’s a faster start than I’m usually used to,” he said. “I’m coming out of the gate hot this year so far, and I’m trying to keep the momentum I started last year when I was here.”

Slater batted .282 as a rookie and he can play all three outfield spots. He’s not someone you would really start in center, but he has spelled Steven Duggar there this season for the River Cats and can handle it in a pinch. He also has played second base and shortstop as a professional and played third base in college. Recently, he started taking grounders at first. 

“I’m still fresh with the taco at first,” he said. 

(Slater was asked to repeat that excellent quote. He laughed and clarified that the taco is the first base glove.)

The point of all this: The Giants should probably take advantage of Slater’s versatility. The Dodgers came into town with three catchers, with Austin Barnes starting at second base and Kyle Farmer playing third. They put an infielder — Chris Taylor — in center field last year and watched him take off. It really does seem like Slater should be on this team in a more varied role. 

--- Mark Melancon played catch Thursday for the first time since being shut down at the end of March and said he felt good. He did so again Friday. It will be a slow crawl, but this is progress.

--- Hunter Pence will play four to five innings for the River Cats tonight. You know everything you read above about Williamson and Slater? Well, Pence is obviously in the outfield mix, too, but this is complicated, and the Giants will take their time.

“We’re going to give him a few at-bats there to where he’s comfortable,” Bochy said. 

Translation: With what Williamson is doing, the Giants are in no rush with Pence's rehab assignment. 

--- Chris Stratton’s wife, Martha Kate, gave birth to an adorable daughter on Wednesday. Stratton is expected back in San Francisco for Saturday’s doubleheader. 

Giants continue roster shuffle with pitching staff

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USATSI

Giants continue roster shuffle with pitching staff

SAN DIEGO -- Giants relievers are going to pile up the miles this season. 

The roster churn continued Thursday, when Derek Law was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take Andrew Suarez's roster spot. Suarez had a solid debut on Wednesday, but the Giants anticipate Johnny Cueto being ready to take his turn and come off the disabled list on Tuesday, so there was no need to keep another rookie starter around. Tyler Beede will start Sunday and Suarez would not have had enough rest days to be ready for that game. 

Law may only be here for a few days, and that'll be the trend this season. Roberto Gomez pitched well but was sent down earlier in the week to make room for Beede. Steven Okert spent one night on the active roster but didn't pitch, and he went down for Suarez. With so many relievers with minor league options remaining, the Giants intend to do this all year to maximize flexibility and keep guys fresh. 

"We have to protect these guys as much as getting fresh arms," Bochy said earlier this week. "It can affect any of those guys if we need them to throw a couple of innings."

Among the current group, Osich, Law, Pierce Johnson and Reyes Moronta have minor league options remaining, so the Giants can shuffle them back and forth with others like Gomez and Okert. A player must spend 10 days back in the minors unless there is an injury at the big league level. 

While the Giants have been busy early, that could change by the end of the month. Will Smith is on track to return May 1 and the Giants will likely go to a seven-man bullpen at some point, and five of those guys could be out of options.