AT&T Park — Injured San Francisco Giants starter Johnny Cueto (elbow) will see a doctor on Saturday, and when the team heads out to Houston for a three-game set against the Astros, he will head to Arizona.
The right-hander will continue his rehab, but no date has been set for him to begin throwing, manager Bruce Bochy said.
Right-handed reliever, Mark Melancon, though, will pitch for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats on Monday to begin his rehab. It will take some time for Melancon to get back to his ninth-inning role, and he will be worked in, in earlier innings, to get his feel back.
“We’ll kind of let him get settled in when he gets back,” Bochy said. “I don’t want to put added pressure on him, as soon as he gets back … We’ll mix him in there, and he’ll be a big part of that, too. What it allows you to do is rest guys, and keep them fresh and you’re still comfortable with who you have there, late in the game.”
Melancon (elbow strain) missed three separate chunks of the 2017 season and underwent stem cell injection to help repair an injured pronator. He started the season on the 60-day disabled list, but threw 20 pitches to hitters on Friday. He’ll have to work up to throwing multiple days in a row.
“Mark, it’s been a long road for him, so it’ll be good to have him back, and we’re looking at around two weeks for his rehab,” Bochy said. “We’re getting some good news, despite this three-game skid we’ve had.”
That good news includes the fact that ace Madison Bumgarner threw 40 pitches on Saturday, and will throw 45 against hitters on Tuesday in Houston.
Bumgarner and Melancon will soon join Mac Williamson (concussion) and Hunter Pence (thumb) in Sacramento. The pair of outfielders hit back-to-back homers for the River Cats on Friday, with Williamson starting at designated hitter. He was slated to start in the field on Saturday.
“That’s a nice start,” Bochy said. “DH, get a home run, that’s a good way to have your first game go … He felt fine, was doing well.”
Pence, who is also re-engineering his swing, will “just keep playing,” Bochy said.
“It takes a little time to get that comfortable,” Bochy said. “He’s doing well.”
Once Williamson and Pence return, it’s likely that Gorkys Hernandez could move to center.
“He’s a guy who’s more apt, probably has the ability to go out there every day,” Bochy said. “I talked about [Austin] Jackson, try to give him his breaks. He had a great year last year doing those things, as far as taking a day off here or there. Gregor [Blanco], a little bit older, I don’t want to run him into the ground. To add to that, Gorkys can swing the bat well. He’s driving the ball better this year, does the little things — bunt — to help out.”
Hernandez hit a leadoff 433-foot bomb on Friday night, and is hitting .273 on the season. Jackson has seven hits in his last 22 at-bats.