AT&T PARK — As of 4:30 p.m., San Francisco Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey was still in surgery in Vail, Colorado. The surgery — under the eye of head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner — was to clean out bone spurs and repair the labrum in Posey’s right hip, which sapped his power in what’s been his worst offensive season in the major leagues.
The procedure to alleviate hip impingement, performed by Dr. Marc Philippon at The Steadman Clinic, was delayed, but as of an hour before game time, Posey was resting comfortably, and is expected to return to the Bay Area later this week.
Once Posey returns to AT&T Park for some workouts and rehab, he, along with Madison Bumgarner, will flank rookie catcher Aramis Garcia. That decision, Bochy said, was strategic. The organization’s No. 21 prospect who will serve as Nick Hundley’s backup the rest of the way, and while the Giants could conceivably call up a third catcher once September begins, Bochy said it’s unlikely. One will be kept “waiting in the wings,” prepared just in case. The group that is called up, Bochy said, will be small.
The fact of the matter is that the Giants already have most of their big-league-ready prospects on the 25-man roster. Steven Duggar and Austin Slater — two of San Francisco’s top five prospects to start the season — were called up in July and June, respectively. Dereck Rodriguez, 26, is in the starting rotation, as is 25-year old Andrew Suarez. Alen Hanson — who signed with the Giants on a minor league deal in December — has been with the big club since the start of the season.
Ray Black has also been a key piece of the bullpen since being called up in July. He was sent down for Derek Law last week, but he’ll easily be back once rosters expand. The same can be said for Law, who was optioned on Aug. 21.
The top two prospects in the organization — 2018 draftee Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos (who will turn 19 on Sept. 7) — haven’t played above A-ball. Right-hander Shaun Anderson — the Giants’ No. 3 prospect — could be a possibility, especially since San Francisco could use some help to shore up a rotation that will be missing Johnny Cueto the rest of the year and Jeff Samardzija for the foreseeable future, and has had to rely on 28-year old Chris Stratton (starting Monday) to fill the gaps.
Stratton hasn’t been bad — he’s 8-7 with a 5.37 ERA — but he hasn’t been great, either. He’s been a stop-gap. He’s someone San Francisco wants to get a look at over the final five weeks of the season, just to see if he can get anything rolling.
“I’ve always said this: It’s really important how you finish,” Bochy said. “As you go into the offseason, as far as your confidence, the confidence the club has in you, as you go into the following year, I think it does a lot for the player. Hopefully, his next starts, as he winds this up, are good ones.”
In that vein, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see Tyler Beede also called up. The 25-year old made his big league debut in April (0-2 in two starts, 8.22 ERA), but the Giants’ No.7 prospect has had a horrific year for Triple-A Sacramento. He’s currently 4-8 with a 7.10 ERA in 71 innings, with 10 starts and 30 appearances. He hasn’t started a game since June 11. He’s not someone you would want to trust late and close, but given where he was drafted — No. 7 overall in 2014 — San Francisco has to see if there’s anything left to be excited about.
Outfielder Chris Shaw, San Francisco’s No. 4 prospect, is hitting .261 for Sacramento this year, but he does have 23 home runs and 20 doubles in his first full season in the Pacific Coast League. He could definitely be a candidate to see some time with former River Cats teammates Slater and Duggar in the outfield, but seeing as both of them are already up, his chances are relatively slim, at least from the outside looking in.
As for Garcia, he will start at some point soon — as soon as the third game of the Diamondbacks series — but Hundley will still get the vast majority of playing time.
“We think he can handle it, but we’ve got to take care of him, too,” Bochy said.
Bullpen note: The Giants will “try and stay away from” Will Smith and Marc Melancon, Bochy said. Hunter Strickland and Sam Dyson will be up, but the Giants will also try and not use Reyes Moronta.
“He probably could give us some work, but between getting in the game and getting up two previous days, we’re going to try to look after a few guys today,” Bochy said.