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Holland’s Tuesday start not a sign of a setback for Cueto

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The Giants gave Derek Holland the start Tuesday against the Cubs, despite Johnny Cueto being previously listed as the projected starter.

Cueto’s second start after returning from an extended stay on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation is slated for Wednesday against Cubs southpaw Mike Montgomery. Furthermore, Cueto’s scratch should not spark worry.

Manager Bruce Bochy said the team had planned this schedule all along and this was not representative of a setback for Cueto, simply a miscommunication. 

“I didn’t get that message across to [Giants Media Relations Director] Matt [Chisholm]. I dropped the ball on that one, that’s all. Cueto was not pushed back he was scheduled to go tomorrow and I probably inadvertently said you know, ‘We’re staying on schedule,’ but thinking of Holland being in there was being on schedule [in my mind] so there’s no reason to think that we moved [Cueto] back for anything. This is what we set up [all along].”

Holland spent the first three months of the season as a starter but was moved to the bullpen last week with Cueto’s return from the DL.

Bochy added that the team’s weekend rotation was not set in stone, either, because with a taxed bullpen after an 11-inning game that required three outs each from Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, Will Smith, Reyes Moronta and Ty Blach. With the off-day Thursday and looming All-Star Break, the Giants may look to starters to act as relievers in the coming games.  

The manager said Dereck Rodríguez and Jeff Samardzija are both on the table to work in relief depending on the situation, leaving the rotation in flux.

“The next day or two we can use anybody as far as the starters with the bullpen usage. It all depends on how it goes, it’s all hands on deck because of the guys that need a break today in the bullpen.”

He added:

“If all goes well ‘Bum’ [Madison Bumgarner] could go Friday or Saturday, he’ll go one of those two, I can tell you that. Rodriguez could [also potentially] go Friday. [But] I could use Rodriguez, then Samardzija could start in his spot, that’s why we haven’t [settled on a schedule].”

Injury updates

Bochy announced that Hunter Strickland, who fractured his pitching hand punching a door in mid-June, had the pins removed in his hand Tuesday and his set to begin rehab right away. The Giants believe he will return around August 15. 

Evan Longoria, who fractured his hand June 14 in the fourth inning of a 16-inning marathon in Miami when he was plunked in the left hand by an 89-mph fastball from Dan Straily, has been continuing to ramp up baseball activities and Bochy is pleased with his progress in recovery. He is expected to return around the first week of August. 

And rounding out the trio of Giants on the shelf is Joe Panik who strained his groin running the bases Friday. MRI results concluded a mild-to-moderate strain to his left groin and, according to Senior Director of Athletic Training Dave Groeschner, Panik is expected to return from his second extended stint on the DL in around three weeks. He had returned from a month-long visit to the DL just five weeks before straining his groin last week. 

Panik said:

“When you’re rounding second and you feel your groin pull and you just coast into third, [then] you realize you’re gonna be down for a while you’re not really thinking long-term but you’re not happy. It’s gotten better. It’s been four days. Initially it was painful, but every day I’m just doing a whole lot of treatment. That’s all you can really do until the muscle heals.”

He added:

“There’s still plenty of the season left that’s the way I’m trying to look at it. The team’s playing well that’s all you can ask for.”


Julie Parker is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @InsideThePark3r on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.

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