As the post All-Star break began, San Francisco Giants fans were lifted with some hope.
The Giants had a modest three-game winning streak. It appeared they were starting to get healthy with the return of Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro.
But then the reality of Monday hit like a rock.
The Giants placed Matt Cain on the disabled list for the third time this season. And it felt very similar to his first two trips.
Before the All-Star break, Cain was reshuffled in the rotation to the No. 5 spot. Manager Bruce Bochy said, at the time, there was no specific reason for this and that the Giants just wanted to give Cain more time.
Then came news Friday of Cain’s “cranky elbow,” but that he was still expected to start Tuesday against the Phillies.
Then came news of his third DL stint on Monday with elbow inflammation. Cain is eligible to return from the DL Sunday against the Dodgers, but at this point it looks very doubtful.
It was like deja vu from his first two stints, first with a finger laceration and later with a hamstring strain. First reports said “yeah, he’ll be OK and make his next start” followed by “DL time.”
So Yusmeiro Petit gets the call again to fill in for Cain.
On the surface, you can say Petit’s 3-3 record and 3.86 ERA this season is better than Cain’s 2-7 mark and 4.18 ERA. But then you look at Petit’s relief/start splits.
He’s 2-1 with 2.45 ERA in relief and 1-2 with a 5.81 ERA in his five starts.
George Kontos, who has been pitching very well lately in Fresno, gets the call to fill Cain’s roster spot.
Then came news that Belt would be placed on the seven-day concussion DL. Belt was hit in the face with a thrown ball during batting practice on Saturday. Belt was looking to receive a throw from shortstop when another one came in from second base.
Belt started the game Saturday and came out of the game with dizziness. He’ll be eligible to return on Sunday vs. the Dodgers.
Adam Duvall got the call to fill Belt’s roster spot. Duvall, who got called up in June, has hit 3 HRs, 11 RBI and .310 in his last 10 games with Fresno.
And, finally, the Giants took a flyer on veteran second baseman Dan Uggla.
When Uggla was released by the Braves last week, several Giants fans on Twitter was screaming for the Giants NOT to sign him. They compared him to Brandon Hicks, except older and not nearly as good a fielder.
But given their options at second base, it’s a no-risk move to sign Uggla to a minor-league deal and send him to Fresno in an effort to find his stroke.
Uggla has an Aug. 1 opt-out date. That means if he hasn’t been called up to the Giants by then, he can opt-out of his deal and find a better one somewhere else.
It gives the Giants about 10 days to see if Uggla can help.
The best-case scenario is that the Giants catch a little lightning-in-a-bottle with Uggla, similar to what they did in 2010 with Pat Burrell and Cody Ross.
At worst, Uggla spends 10 days in Fresno. That should be long enough.
Everyone hits in Fresno. Juan Perez is hitting .337 in Fresno. Hicks is hitting .333 since he got sent to Fresno.
If in 10 days Uggla isn’t hitting in Fresno, let him take his opt-out.