San Francisco Giants pitcher Sam Coonrod (65) takes over the mound in the 13th inning for the win against the Chicago Cubs at Oracle Park on July 23, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Chris Victorio | Special to S.F. Examiner.

Reliever Sam Coonrod considers things bigger than baseball

Sam Coonrod concerned for teammate’s wife; Dickerson rests; Giants change lineup after late scratch

ORACLE PARK — After the best outing of his professional career, San Francisco Giants reliever Sam Coonrod, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Monday, wanted to talk about anything but baseball.

Coonrod recorded his first major league victory on Tuesday, pitching the top of the 13th in the Giants’ 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs and retiring the heart of the Cubs lineup – Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo – in order. However, when asked to reflect on his performance in a post-game press conference, Coonrod’s mind was elsewhere.

“Recently I actually just had a friend whose wife is having some brain issues,” Coonrod said, “so it’s like you just really can’t take anything for granted.”

Coonrod’s words were in reference to switch-pitcher Pat Venditte – a close friend of Coonrod’s in his time with the Sacramento River Cats – whose wife, Erin, suffered a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage on July 4 and has been recovering in a medical center at the University of Wisconsin since.

On Tuesday, Venditte wrote on Instagram that Erin was able to return home safely last Sunday and that she should make a full recovery. He also announced that he will be taking a leave of absence from baseball for an undetermined period of time to spend time with his family as his wife recovers.

“Baseball is just a game and you have to realize that,” Coonrod said about his perspective on the game since hearing about Venditte’s wife. “I mean it may be fine but I’d just like to thank God for my health.”

Coonrod also said that it made him reflect on his own injury history – the reliever underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and was sidelined for the majority of the season.

“Whenever you’re not able to play it just really puts it into perspective,” Coonrod said. “Wow, I get to play baseball, not I have to play baseball.”

Other news:

Alex Dickerson is out again as the Giants are set to wrap up a three-game series with the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon. Manager Bruce Bochy said that the Giants continue to take precautions with Dickerson concerning his back soreness and are resting him for the game because of the quick turnaround after Tuesday’s 13-inning game.

Bochy added that his management of Dickerson will likely change once the outfielder is 100 percent, but that, for now, the Giants will take good care to ensure that his back does not flare up again.

Cubs left-handed starter Jon Lester was scratched from Wednesday’s game with an illness. Right-hander Tyler Chatwood will start in his place, inducing a pregame lineup change for the Giants. Rookie third baseman Zach Green, who was scheduled to start, was replaced by Pablo Sandoval, the hero of Tuesday night’s game with his 13th inning walkoff homer.

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