The San Francisco Giants were hoping to escape Arizona without having to put anyone on the disabled list.
That hope ended Tuesday when Marco Scutaro revealed he would open the season on the DL after a trip to the doctor didn’t help resolved his lingering back issue.
Then on Wednesday, as the rest of the team headed north for the Bay Bridge Series, Jeremy Affeldt was placed on the DL with a strained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Affeldt felt discomfort in his knee last Saturday when he gave up four runs against the White Sox.
Bochy seemed frustrated by his left-handed reliever.
“He didn’t have his brace on,” Bochy said.
It’s the brace that Affeldt has been wearing — or supposed to be wearing — ever since hurting his knee way back in May 2012. You’ll recall that’s when Affeldt hurt his knee when his then-four-year-old son jumped into his arms after Affeldt arrived home from a game.
That leaves three pitchers to compete for two spots left in the bullpen, as Yusmeiro Petit and David Huff appear locks as long relievers.
Jean Machi is on the 40-man roster and is out of options, but he has struggled this spring. Non-roster invitees Derek Law and Juan Gutierrez have impressed this spring. But to put them on the opening day roster would require opening a spot on the 40-man roster.
The Giants have one spot open currently, but that is expected to be filled by another non-roster invitee, infielder Brandon Hicks. Hicks is expected to make the team as infield help with Scutaro opening the season on the shelf.
Three other pitchers — Dan Runzler, Heath Hembree and Erik Cordier — will make the trip north with the team this weekend, but Bochy does not view them as candidates to make the opening-day roster.
So the Giants head north, having avoided major injuries like the Tommy John surgeries facing the likes of the Braves’ Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy or the Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin. Even Clayton Kershaw had an MRI on his back and will miss his start Sunday.
So by comparison, the Giants are getting off light.
They hope to have Affeldt back by the middle of April. Scutaro’s return date is far less certain. Buster Posey sat out Wednesday with a tight hamstring, and Pablo Sandoval has a sore hand that will sideline him for some of this weekend’s games.
Otherwise, the Giants are marching ahead toward the 2014 season.
The last two times Jeremy Affeldt went on the disabled list, there was an interesting to story to go with it.
But not this time. Affeldt was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain on Tuesday. At least, not yet.
Affeldt told manager Bruce Bochy he didn’t feel anything when he pitched on Sunday, when he walked three leading to two runs that allowed the Cubs to take the lead in the eighth inning. He said he didn’t feel anything until Monday’s off day, and an MRI on Tuesday confirmed the oblique strain.
The Giants said they didn’t know how or when Affeldt hurt himself. Could it be he’s not telling us something?
The last time Affeldt went on the DL was last year when his son, excited to greet his father as he came home from a game, jumped off the sofa and into his father. Affeldt suffered a sprained knee.
Affeldt’s previous trip to the DL to that came late in the 2011 season, when while BBQing on a day off in San Francisco, Affeldt sliced his hand with a knife trying to separate frozen hamburger patties.
So there’s got to be a good story with this one.
Here are some possibilities:
- He hurt his side by laughing so hard while attending a performance of Second City while in Chicago.
- He hurt himself while performing the “Schlemiel! Schlimazel!” bit from Laverne and Shirley with George Kontos during a visit to the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee.
- It happened while giving Hunter Pence a high-five following Pence’s game-tying home run on Sunday. If that’s the case, the Giants are lucky not to have more players on the DL.
- Affeldt jumped out of bed after having a nightmare, thinking the Giants were staying at the haunted hotel frequented by MLB teams while staying in Milwaukee.
- Pablo Sandoval was really excited to see Affeldt return to the team hotel, so he got up on the bed and ….
Any of those explanations would be good.
Anyway, the Giants called up Jean Machi to fill Affeldt’s roster spot. Machi had thrown five scoreless innings in five appearances this year for the Fresno Grizzlies. He has allowed five hits and one walk while striking out five.
Jeremy spoke and he’s staying by the bay.
The Giants and left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt agreed on a new three-year deal worth about $18 million. The deal is pending a physical.
Affeldt has spent the past four seasons with the Giants.
He signed a two-year deal worth $7.5 million before the 2009 season after spending one season with the Reds. Affeldt then had his best season as a reliever, going 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA. He was selected as the Setup Man of the Year and even picked up an MVP vote.
The Giants rewarded him in spring training of 2010 by extending his contract for a third year for $4.5 million with a $5 million option for 2012.
But Affeldt struggled in 2010, eventually landing on the DL for almost a month in July with an oblique strain. Despite his 4.14 ERA, Affledt was added to the playoff roster, and then pitched a critical two innings in relief of Jonathan Sanchez in Game 6 of the NLCS vs. the Phillies, a game the Giants would go on to win 3-2 and clinch the NL pennant.
He rebounded in 2011, posting an 2.63 ERA in 67 appearances. But his season ending early when added to a string of late-season bullpen injuries for the Giants by gashing his hand while separating frozen hamburger patties during an off day in September.
After the Giants picked up his option for 2012, he was solid again with a 2.70 ERA in 67 outings. He did have another DL stint in late April when he sprained his knee after 4-year-old son jumped off the couch to hug his father after he arrived home from a game.
During the NLDS vs. the Reds in October, Affeldt avoided another fluke injury. After pitching a scoreless inning in Game 5, he was standing in the dugout at the top of some stairs that led to the clubhouse while Gregor Blanco was at bat. Blanco fouled a ball into the dugout right at Affeldt, who fell down the steps trying to avoid the ball and jammed his left thumb. The injury didn’t cost Affeldt any playing time as he pitched in Game 1 of the NLCS vs. the Cardinals, the Giants’ next postseason game three days later.
Another Affeldt quirk — he has three sons, each born during a season that ended with a World Series appearance for Affeldt: 2007 with the Rockies, 2010 and 2012 with the Giants.
After the 2012 season ended, Affeldt said he wanted to stay with the Giants, but also wanted a multi-year deal to provide security for his family — a mildly annoying remark for someone who has earned more than $24 million over his career. But Affeldt also is aware of the struggles of people around the world. He has worked with organizations to halt childhood poverty and slavery during his tenure with the Giants.
And after the big-spending and annoying Dodgers inexplicably signed reliever Brandon League to a three-year deal with $22.5 million to maybe (or maybe not) be their closer, there was some question whether the Giants would be able to ink Affeldt, who is entering his age 34 season.
Pablo Sandoval was the MVP of the 2012 World Series. And that was an easy call.
The Panda hit .500 (8 for 16) with three home runs, four RBI, a double and only two strikeouts. And, of course, he had the three-homer game.
But there were a lot of MVPs in the World Series for the Giants. Here are others:
RHP Tim Lincecum 4.2 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, one walk, eight strikeouts
RHP Sergio Romo 3 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, five strikeouts, three saves
LHP Madison Bumgarner 7 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 1 win.
RHP Ryan Vogelsong, 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 0 run, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 1 win
OF Gregor Blanco, 4-15 (.267), 3B, RBI, three great catches, great relay throw to Marco Scutaro to get Prince Fielder at the plate
C Buster Posey, 4-15 (.267), HR, 3 RBI, caught outstanding series, two shutouts.
LHP Barry Zito, 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 1 win, 1-2, RBI
LHP Jeremy Affeldt, 2 IP, 0 hit, 0 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
SS Brandon Crawford, 3-12 (.250), RBI, stolen base, outstanding defensive shortstop
Thursday was a day off for the San Francisco Giants, but does mean there wasn’t news to report.
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Henry Schulman reported that Ryan Vogelsong’s sore back — which caused the pitcher to get a late start to spring training and to the started of the season — flared up in the days before his most recent start.
It did not prevent him from pitching Tuesday in Los Angeles. In fact, Vogey’s seven-plus inning, one-run outing was his best of the season.
The Giants had Vogelsong leave LA early to avoid subjecting his back to a late-night flight after Wednesday’s game. It also allowed him to get a “maintainence shot” to his back in Arizona. The Giants say they don’t expect Vogelsong to miss his next start Monday at home against the Rockies.
Then came another piece of news. The Giants reportedly called on Fresno Grizzlies pitcher Shane Loux to join the team in Arizona. Loux was not activated. According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, teams have a short grace period in which they can bring a player in without calling him up.
The Loux summons could mean a couple of things:
The Giants could see Loux as insurance in the event Vogelsong’s back tightens up again. Loux started 28 games for Fresno in 2011 with a 4.67 ERA. But he’s worked exclusively out of the pen, with success, this season — 21 IP in 13 innings with a 3-1 record and an 0.43 ERA. So using Loux as a spot starter for Vogey doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Baggarly said it’s possible that Loux is being brought in simply to familiarize himself with the big league routine to prepare him for a future call-up. But Loux is no spring chicken. He’s 32 with two previous big-league stints — in 2002-03 with the Tigers and 2008-09 with the Angels.
It’s also likely the Giants are preparing to return to a seven-man bullpen. We knew that the Giants decision to go with a six-man pen in the wake of Guillermo Mota’s suspension and Aubrey Huff’s activation from the DL would not be permanent. The day off following the Dodgers series offered the Giants some flexibility.
But that flexibility ends Friday when the Giants start a stretch in which they play 20 games in 20 days. Loux’s call-up may be the first step toward the Giants returning to a seven-man pen. But with Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain, who both have the ability to pitch deep into games, going in the first two games, the Giants may simply be holding Loux in reserve, allowing them to keep the deeper bench at least to open the Arizona series.
And there’s another factor at play. Jeremy Affeldt (sprained knee) is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday and may well be available to do so. But even if he is ready to come off the DL, that doesn’t mean Loux won’t be needed.
The Giants normally keep two lefties in the pen (Javier Lopez and Affeldt). When Affeldt went on the DL, lefty Travis Blackley was called upon. So when Affeldt comes off the DL, Blackley could be sent back to Fresno and Loux is activated to give the Giants a seven-man pen.
This appears to be the mostly likely scenario to MoreSplashHits, given Thursday’s news.
Of course, if that does happen, the Giants would need to demote, DL or DFA a position player.
But we’ll deal with that decision in a later post.
To paraphrase a lyric from the song “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam
“Clearly I remember
Picking up the boy
Seemed a harmless little …..”
That may have been the best way for Jeremy Affeldt to greet the media when explaining his most recent trip to the disabled list.
Instead, he took a different route.
“I was separating frozen hamburgers, and I slipped on the floor.”
In fact, Affeldt sprained his knee when his four-year-old son Walker greeted the pitcher as he came home Saturday night by jumping off the sofa and into his father’s arms.
My first reaction to the news was: What was a four-year-old stilling doing up that late?
But then I remember Saturday’s night game started at 6 p.m. and only lasted 2 hours, 18 minutes. So Affeldt wouldn’t have come home that late.
My second thought was: the knee? He hurt his knee?
As a father of a young son who is big for his age, I know how dangerous they can be.
But I would have expected an injury like a strained back. I have had that happen to me. Kid jumps into your arms, and you thrown out your back.
The groin might be another susceptible area. Kids jumps into you, and you take it in the family jewels. Oh yes, I can see that.
And if that did happen, I’d say “Jeremy, take your 15 days. Heck, take 60 days if you need to.”
The Giants said Affledt’s knee sprain will take 7 to 10 days to heal, and then he’ll head to Fresno for a rehab stint. So it’s hoped he’ll be back by mid-month.
In the meantime, the Giants called up lefty Travis Blackley from Fresno, where he was 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA with three walks and 19 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings.
When asked for comment, former Giant Jeff Kent said: “Hurt by one of your kids jumping into your arms? Man! Why didn’t I think of that in 2002?”
The Giants confirmed they have agreed to extensions with pitcher Matt Cain, Jeremy Affledt and Brian Wilson.
The terms for Cain are a bit sketchy. but Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Cain will receive $4.5 million 2010, $8 million in 2011 and $15 million in 2012.
The deal buys out Cain’s first year of free agent, and it keeps fourth-fifths of the Giants’ starting rotation under team control through 2012. Cain is now signed through 2012, Lincecum is arbitration-eligible through 2013, Jonathan Sanchez is arbitration-eligilble through 2012, and Barry Zito is signed through 2013 with a club option for 2014 (although it is exceedingly doubtful that club option will be picked).
Affledt will get an extra $500,000 on top of his $4 million salary for the second year of the two-year deal he signed with the club in 2009. He’ll receive $4.5 million in 2011 and there’s $5 million option for 2012.
Wilson receives $6.5 million in 2011 and $8.5 million in 2012.