The San Francisco Giants have optioned right-handed pitcher Dereck Rodriguez to Triple-A Sacramento and recalled outfielder Austin Slater, the team announced on Monday morning, two days after Rodriguez’s bobblehead day at Oracle Park.
Rodriguez, who helped keep a injury-riddled Giants pitching staff afloat last season, began 2019 in the rotation, but posted a 5.05 ERA in eight starts before being sent down to Triple-A. When he returned two weeks later, he found a staff that now had both Shaun Anderson and Tyler Beede called up and placed in the rotation, so Rodriguez was relegated to the bullpen. As a reliever, he’s posted a 5.87 ERA in 15 1/3 innings over nine appearances, a far cry from a rookie campaign in which he went 6-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 118 1/3 innings.
Slater was rated as the Giants’ No. 4 overall prospect as recently as 2017, and when he came up to San Francisco that year, he hit .282 and slugged .402 in 34 games. Last season, he spent 74 games with the big club, and hit .251 with one home run, one triple and six doubles, driving in 23 runs.
With Triple-A Sacramento this season, Slater is slashing .308/.436/.529 with 12 homers, 17 doubles and 45 RBIs in 70 games.
Though the Giants need another outfielder more at this point than they do a reliever — as San Francisco’s stretch of 20 games in 20 days is coming to a close after a three-game set in San Diego, starting Monday evening — they will need pitching coming out of the All-Star Break, meaning that Rodriguez probably won’t be down for long.