This story was updated at 6:06 p.m.
As expected, Ty Blach is being sent down to make room for catcher Stephen Vogt, the San Francisco Giants announced on Wednesday.
Vogt, a lifelong Giants fan born in Visalia, has not played in the Major Leagues for more than a year due to shoulder surgery last May. It had been reported late Tuesday night that Vogt was on his way up to the Bay from Albuquerque, where he was playing with Triple-A Sacramento. With the suspension of top prospect Logan Webb on Wednesday morning, the Giants had a 40-man roster spot open, but not a 25-man spot.
Blach was promoted on Monday after left-handed starter Derek Holland in order to help out a bullpen that had been overtaxed during the three-game weekend series against the New York Yankees. Blach soaked up 3 1/3 innings and giving up six runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning, was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Vogt.
With Buster Posey still not catching every day, and 38-year old backup Erik Kratz hitting just .133, bringing up Vogt — who hasn’t played in a Major League game since 2017, and had shoulder surgery last May — makes sense. A two-time All-Star with the Oakland A’s, Vogt is an experienced big league bat who can play left field and first base if he’s not catching.
“I’m sure he’s excited,” manager Bruce Bochy said before Wednesday’s series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. “It’s been a long road for him, going through what he had to go through on the rehab, being back up here playing, he was determined to make it back up here, and he’s a guy that is known for being a good teammate, a leader, too, and plus, the bat is going to help us out. It’s going to be nice having him up here, helping us out.”
When asked if the Giants will carry three catchers on the next road trip to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Bochy equivocated a bit.
“Yeah, yeah, uh, right now, that’s where we’re at,” he said. “We’re talking about, you’ll know why here in a second, but we’ll have another pending move here soon, because of what we’re going to do in this rotation. Come Friday, [Tyler] Beede will start in Cincinnati, and [Dereck] Rodriguez will have the second game.”
Bochy said that he feels the rest of the bench — Pablo Sandoval, Yangervis Solarte and Tyler Austin — is versatile enough that San Francisco can afford to carry a third catcher, especially if the Giants continue to carry 12 pitchers.
Despite president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi’s stated desire to have greater roster flexibility in terms of players with minor league options, there weren’t many to be had on the current 25-man roster other than Blach, and Rodriguez was one of them, along with reliever Reyes Moronta, starting right fielder Steven Duggar and starting second baseman Joe Panik. None of those are being optioned any time soon.
Given that, it’s likely that Kratz could be the odd man out when Beede, one of San Francisco’s top minor league arms, is officially called up. Asked if the Giants will carry 12 pitchers with Beede being called up, Bochy said, “We’ll see how things are going.”