San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy tosses out the ceremonial first pitch at the start of his final season ahead of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the opening home game of the 2019 season at Oracle Park on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Giants healthier as they start stretch of 20 games in 20 days

Bruce Bochy provides injury updates on relievers Travis Bergen and Nick Vincent

By Doug Bruzzone

Special to S.F. Examiner

ORACLE PARKAfter Saturday’s win over the Brewers, the Giants have an 8-4 record in June, and at least some of that success is due to the team’s improved health.

“I was talking to [head trainer] Dave Groeschner and he said this is really the best we’ve been as far as health,” manager Bruce Bochy said. While players are always feeling little nicks and pains, that’s about it right now for guys on the 25-man roster.

“We’d like to keep it that way,” Bochy said.

Bochy did provide updates on a couple of relievers who are currently on the IL. Lefty Travis Bergen, who went down with a left shoulder strain on May 21, pitched an inning for Triple-A Sacramento on Saturday night, and even though he gave up two runs, as far as his health goes, he came out fine.

Nick Vincent, placed on the IL on May 29 with a right pectoralis strain, isn’t quite as close to returning.

“He’s probably still two to three weeks away,” Bochy said. “He’s coming along. I don’t know when his first day is throwing from the ‘pen, but he’s still a long ways out.”

Bochy added that Vincent still hasn’t played catch since getting injured.

On Friday, the Giants started a stretch where they’ll play 20 games in 20 days, and in order to keep everyone healthy, Bochy knows he’ll have to adjust his lineups

“In this 20 game span, I’m gonna have to rest some guys,” Bochy said. “[Closer Will Smith], of course, getting a day off today in the pen, but the position players. Gonna have to use this bench quite a bit to keep guys fresh.”

It’s not health alone that’s been winning games in June for the Giants, though. They’ve also been playing better in all aspects of the game, and while healthy players are more effective than injured ones, the team has also seen plenty of subpar performance this year from guys who were feeling fine.

“I love the way we’ve been playing,” Bochy said. “You look at the pitching, how well they’ve done, the hitting, timely hits. That’s what wins games.

“You gotta have somebody come through with those hits, and that’s been happening. That’s been the biggest difference, really. Pitching’s kept us in the game and we’ve got the hits.”

And it helps that the team is feeling healthy.

GAME NOTES:

– Smith, who has pitched five times in seven games coming into Sunday, is unavailable to close today. Bochy declined to name a replacement, saying that he’d use matchups to determine who would come in in the late innings.

-Bochy noted that his two sons and two grandkids were in the building for Father’s Day, and that the Bochy clan enjoyed a big family dinner on Saturday night.

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