The San Francisco Giants are riding high right now, so there aren’t a lot of questions or complaints about the on-field product. But they entered the season with depth concerns, so Bruce Bochy’s pregame media sessions often focus on health questions. That will probably continue all season long. Managing 25 personalities isn’t easy, and keeping 25 guys relatively fresh throughout a 162-game season is just as difficult.
Today Bochy talked about the current condition of several players on the roster today — pretty much everyone besides Marco Scutaro (then again, today is Saturday and not “Marco Monday”).
Matt Cain (hamstring)
“He’s doing quite well,” said Bochy, who sounded really optimistic about his No. 2 starter. “He’s going to take some swings and bunt. He’s going to take a bullpen today. We’ll make a call after he does all his baseball activities and see how he comes out of it. And hopefully we’ll see him start when his time comes.”
I watched Cain throw his bullpen, and it was definitely short of a full session. He threw about 15-20 pitches, mostly from the stretch. Almost every one would’ve been inside to a right-handed hitter, showing that something mechanically wasn’t allowing him to finish his pitches. After Dave Righetti gave the hand signal to the catcher that it was time to wrap things up, Cain headed to the clubhouse with trainer Dave Groeschner.
This is just an assumption, but I’d be shocked if he made his next start. Considering how slow hamstrings tend to heal (even “first degree” strains), there’s no reason to force the issue in late May.
Javier Lopez (arm)
What was the deal with the Giants’ resident lefty specialist from April 29 through May 11, when he only pitched one time in a 12-game span?
“Well, to be honest, there was nothing wrong. He got a little cranky there. The arm,” said Bochy, who said he didn’t remember which part of his arm was feeling cranky. “He could pitch. It wasn’t a situation where he couldn’t pitch. I was trying to back off on him.”
I remembered how Lopez didn’t throw very often while I was down in Arizona for Spring Training, and when he did pitch he wasn’t all that effective. I asked Bochy whether Lopez has been dealing with arm crankiness since March.
“I can’t say for sure. I’m having a senior moment right now. Nothing that ever kept him from pitching.”
Here’s what Bochy said to us on March 20 about Lopez:
“His elbow was a little tender there early (this Spring). But we’ll get time to get him ready. They’re all going to have their ups and downs here this spring. Romo did, now he’s throwing the ball well. Had (Lopez) in a situation he’s probably not going to be in during the season either, facing all those right-handed bats. That’s not why we have him.”
Santiago Casilla (hamstring)
Even funnier than the “senior moment” comment was a remark Bochy made about his set-up man’s recent hamstring injury.
“I’m not going to lie, when he went down a lot of things were going through my head. I thought his knee, then his ankle or Achilles. He was in a lot of pain. We were kidding him, it was like a sniper shot him, then they kept shooting him,” Bochy said.
“I think we got the best news we could’ve gotten with it being a second-degree strain. He’ll be back hopefully within a month.”
Bochy even admitted that injuries to relievers that aren’t arm-related can often be blessings in disguise.
“Rags and I have talked about it, it’s not a bad thing if you put some of these relievers on the DL for 15 days during the season to give them a break, freshen them up. He’s been throwing quite a bit. I guess if you’re going to look at the silver lining with something like this is that he’s getting a break, his arm’s getting a break. That should help him stay fresh the whole year.”
Buster Posey (back)
He’s catching tonight and batting third.
“He could’ve caught yesterday. He felt fine. I just wanted to make sure coming off that injury, so I put him at first base,” Bochy said. “Good chance he’ll catch tomorrow, probably. We’ll see how this game goes.”
Hector Sanchez (Lincecum-related soreness)
“Hector, what a nice job he did yesterday. He got the crap beat out of him. But he seems to be doing well today.”
Michael Morse (past history)
Last night I brought up my concerns about Morse appearing in all 48 games this season. Other than 2011 (when he hit 31 homers in 146 games), he hasn’t played in more than 102 games in a season. I asked Bochy today if Morse (who’s starting tonight at first base) could be in line to get a day off soon.
“Yeah, no question. I check on him probably as much as anybody. I called him yesterday. He’s honest. He’ll let us know. He could get a day tomorrow, we’ll see. He feels great. What’s helping is he was coming out of a lot of games in the sixth inning. So we were getting him off his legs. But since he’s gone to first and making that position change, it’s a little tougher on the body, I think. I really do. Playing first base, you’ve got get up and down more. You’re breaking to the bag. You’ve got more on your plate. He’s playing nine innings there, so it’s important that we give him a day here and there.”