AT&T PARK — During Bruce Bochy’s five-hour fishing excursion on Half Moon Bay on Monday, he saw a whales — including a humpback — caught some salmon and even got out of the boat and swam. Describing his rare home off day, the San Francisco Giants manager’s eyebrows shot up.
“I’ll tell you what I saw a lot of: Sharks,” he said. “There’s a lot of sharks, they’d come right by the boat … Those’ll turn you into Mark Spitz real quick.”
Bochy said that he brought some of his off-day catch to the ballpark, “so the boys’ll be eating healthy.” The rare home day off allowed the injury-riddled club to catch its breath after an extended stretch of games.
“They were out there fighting pretty good,” Bochy said of the fish. The same could be said for his team, which has kept itself above .500 despite a season-long 17-day stretch of games, plus injuries to the majority of its starting rotation, three-fourths of the starting infielder and two starting outfielders.
Another Shark — starter Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) — will start and throw up to 90 pitches for Triple-A Sacramento against Albuquerque on Tuesday night, while Johnny Cueto (elbow) will start on Friday and throw up to 70 pitches for the River Cats.
Shimmying Samardzija back into a rotation that’s somewhat stabilized with the return of Madison Bumgarner is going to be difficult. Over the last eight games, starters have gone 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA. In the last 12 games, no starter has given up more than three earned runs.
“I think you look at the way the rotation has been throwing the ball, it’s not going to be easy, but we knew this would be coming when Jeff’s ready and Johnny’s ready,” Bochy said. “Johnny’s still a little ways away, with Jeff being a bit closer, but we’ll have to make a call here pretty soon.”
Bochy said there have been no conversations about a six-man rotation when Samardzija comes back. He was not ready to discuss putting Andrew Suarez or Dereck Rodriguez in the bullpen, at least not yet. As a starter, Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 3.95 ERA, and Suarez, since finding his curveball, is 1-0 in five starts, but has a 2.86 ERA with 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings and only five walks in 28 1/3 innings of work. It’s more than likely that the man who loses his starting job when Samardzija comes back is Samardzija.
“These are things we have to talk to the players, and of course we’re talking as a staff,” Bochy said. “Bobby [Evans], Brian [Sabean], we’ll talk about what we can do here, but there’s a few options to be honest. I don’t want to mention somebody right now. I want them to focus on pitching and doing their job and make it tough, with this decision, and they’re doing it.”
Third baseman Evan Longoria, who broke his fifth metacarpal when he was hit in the hand by a Dan Straily pitch in Miami — has already begun mobility work in the training room with the team’s physical therapist,Tony Reale.
“It’s going to be a little slow at first, but they’ll keep ramping it up,” Bochy said. “I don’t think we have any idea when he’s going to come back at this point, except for the ballpark figure I gave you — six to eight weeks.”Bruce BochyJeff SamardzijaJohnny CuetoMLBSan Francisco Giants